It wasn’t until I served in an interim role at a Lutheran church that I really understood the significance of liturgical seasons like this one. Since that time, I have come to appreciate the historical (since the beginning of the early church) and global practice (with Christians from around the world) of joining the common prayers and reflections of a given season in the church calendar.
This is the fourth week of Advent, a period of preparation, a season of anticipating the coming of our Lord. It a beautiful perspective–one in which we look at the past, the future and the present. Advent celebrates the truth that Jesus came; Jesus comes; and Jesus will come again.
Jesus came: a truth that can sometimes feel sentimental, as though it’s a fairy tale. Yet, when I reread the gospel accounts of the little babe born of a virgin in Bethlehem, I am rooted once again in the solid, historical and undeniable truth of the human Jesus.
Jesus comes: a truth that can feel mysterious and squishy, applying to those who have a mystical relationship with God, but not the rest of us who live very tangibly in the hear and now. Yet, when I awake to each ordinary day with eyes wide open, I do see Jesus come to me: alive in Scripture; in the words of my husband, daughter, or friend; through the natural world speaking; and through my daily bread.
Jesus will come again: a truth that has been propagandized and can often feel irrelevant in light of the work that needs to be done today. Yet, something inside me knows. It knows that time is moving forward, culminating in a day, someday, in the future. That something is the notion of eternity, planted in me by God who made my spirit/soul eternal. One day, I will bow the knee of my heavenly body and my tongue will confess in unison with all humanity that Jesus Christ is Lord.
So, I’m curious. Which perspective is hardest for you to believe? That Jesus came? He comes? Or He will come again? Maybe that’s the direction you need to face as you look for Him during this Advent season.
Beth Booram has been a lifelong vocational minister in parachurch and local church settings, both mainline and nondenominational. She is an author, spiritual director and healing prayer practitioner, as well as a congregational consultant. She speaks around the country at conferences and retreats on topics related to spiritual formation and Christian leadership. Beth understands the issues that confound many people today and offers a message that is authentic and original; absent of clichés and formulas, while full of wisdom and insight. She is a disarming communicator who draws from a deep reservoir of compassion through her own healing journey and profound encounter with Christ. Beth's presentations are highly creative, often utilizing artistic elements, contemplative exercises, and engaging interaction. Her next book, Awaken Your Senses: Exercises for Exploring the Wonder of God will be released in February with InterVarsity Press. Beth has also written The Wide Open Spaces of God (Abingdon Press, 2007) and Picturing the Face of Jesus (Abingdon Press/April, 2009).