Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Reflection For Advent (1)

The official church calendar reports that the advent season officially begins next Sunday. But since I already have my radio tuned to a station that plays continuous Christmas music, I think it must be allowed to begin the first of my advent reflections a week early!

Nate and I were driving home after a hike on part of the Appalachian Trial yesterday, when we encountered a huge billboard with the common “evangelistic” question, “Where will you spend eternity? Smoking or Non-Smoking?”

Nate turned to me and asked, “Sarah, what do you think about that sign?”

I will never know what God will use to call someone across the Jordan, but I told Nate that if I was not a Christian that sign wouldn’t build the bridge for me.

“If you weren’t a Christian, what would build the bridge?” Nate asked.

Gratefully, that wasn’t a hard question to answer, because its answer is the reason for my existence, “The heartfelt knowledge that I am loved, by the Creator of the Universe, unconditionally and eternally.”

Life is short, and certainly eternity is of overwhelming consequence, but it seems to me that Christianity suffers a great loss when we forget that Jesus redeemed us as mortals that still pilgrimage on this Earth.

We pray and labor for the Kingdom to come to Earth as it is in Heaven. We bless this season of Advent because God came as One among us, to inhabit our dwelling places, so that in this life we could live in loving communion and relationship with God. That God loves us enough to commune with us, to redeem our present day realities to overflow with the goodness of His perfect holiness is, as Madeleine L’Engle says, the glorious impossible.

So in response to the very great love of our God who became a man and walked among us in the finiteness of time to bear our transgressions and our sorrows, perhaps the relevant question is, “How will you spend your life and your eternity? Accepting or refusing the depths of Love?”