Read Genesis 19:15-26
ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing” (Isaiah 43:18-19a).
So, we’re one day away from Thanksgiving and are now approaching the season of Advent and Christmas. This is also a time when we begin to enter into the brutal cold and frozen winter months that remind us of our ultimate vulnerability. Life, warmth and energy are fleeting. They come and then, at a moment’s notice, those seasons are gone. Just like this past year, we are often facing into the winter months of our lives wondering where all of the seasons went.
It is easy for us to get caught up in the challenges that winter bring, both literally and metaphorically speaking. On the metaphorical front, it is easy for us to look back at how things were “back then” and get caught up in the nostalgia that often creeps into us when we remember times gone by. Each one of our lives is filled with “back then” moments, where we often cherish the past and lament the present and future times we are in.
Yet, the season of Advent should serve to us a reminder that God does not live in the past, God very much lives in the present and is walking with us as we head into the future. Winter is not without hope; in fact, winter is perhaps the season that bears the most hope! After all, it is in the winter where we see the shortest days of the year turn the corner and head toward the longest days of the year. It is in the bleak mid-winter, that we see the hope of light, warmth and renewed life,
The birth of Christ, though it probably did not historically happen in the month of December, is a perfect example of the profound hope that is to be found in winter. Jesus was born into a world that was cruel and cold. He was born into a country that was being crushed under the weight of an oppressive empire and those who collaborated with them. He was born in a time where all people had left were their memories of who they were in the past.
But that little, vulnerable, insignificant child would grow up to be someone who challenged his people to look to the present and move toward the future. He would grow up to see the light that lay beyond winter season that had fallen upon his people and would point them to the warmth of God’s love and the hope of God’s presence. In fact, this child would grow up to be embodiment of that hope…the hope of Emanuel…the hope of “God with us.”
As we approach the coming of winter and the advent of the Christ-child’s birth, let us remember that even holidays can cause us to be locked in nostalgia, looking back at the past. The true spirit of Christmas is in the present, and it point us to be a people who live in the present, and who move toward the future. God is calling us to be filled with hope, to move beyond the past and begin to live life anew in the present. It is there where we will meet God and discover God’s purpose for us. It is in the present that God dwells, and God is presently calling us to join in with his risen son to restore hope, healing and wholeness to the land.
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” – Henry David Thoreau
Lord, help me to live to the fullest in the present, ever ready to move forward into the future. Amen.