December 16 Advent 3
In Advent we emphasize the idea of God coming – God coming to the world in the birth of Jesus, God coming in the future to finalize all that was involved with that birth at Bethlehem. However, God does not come to leave us where we are, but to lead us on to where God wants us to be. As with the Exodus story of God leading the Israelites by means of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21) so God comes to lead us further on our journey into the Promised Land. The God who comes to us is the God who goes ahead calling us to follow. Many of our Advent and Christmas traditions focus attention on the past – childhood memories, family traditions, an ancient story, time-honoured carols. However, the One whose coming we celebrate seeks to lead us on into the future inspired by the vision of a world re-made, a world that lives within and responds to the love of God. Christ goes ahead with the words, “Follow me”. This makes a difference to the way we view the future. As the unknown, the future is a time for faith. We become expectant of what God has in store for us. We are not wedded to past traditions to the extent that we cannot face the adventure of moving in new directions, facing new experiences or growing further in our relationship with God. As others have said, God came to humanity that humanity might come to God. But not to a stationary God. Rather to the God who is ever moving on ahead, leading us, calling us, inviting us to travel further into the life of love echoing the love that God has for us all. So, rejoice. It’s worth repeating, rejoice (Philippians 4:8). No matter what age we are we have something to look forward to. We live from the future; we’re not bound by the past.
- What memories do you hold of Advent or Christmas activities in your childhood?
- How do you like that title, Our Go-ahead God?
- How do you feel about this: With God going on ahead, no matter what age we are we have something to look forward to?
- What speaks to you most strongly as you read Philippians 4:4-7?