I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.
Reflection: Joy Despite Everything :: Joy of Advent
By John Tillman
When we wait in Advent we know the date on the calendar when Christmas comes. We know the day we will blow out the candles the final time. We know the number of shopping days left. We know how long until we will take the decorations down.
But in our lives, many times we wait in faith without a date on the calendar. There are many times we wait in hospital rooms. Wait on a phone call. Wait to see if our miracle will arrive.
And many times we stand over a casket instead of sitting around a table. We make an unemployment claim instead of a promotion. We box up our things and move in with our parents when our miracle passes us by.
Advent grows darker as the year wanes. And Martha greets us at the darkest point of her life. When faith has failed. When her wick smolders. When the smell of death wafts, unwanted through her mind.
Martha shows us how to wait. Martha shows us how to have faith, and then when your faith is crushed into pieces, how to hold out your shattered faith to Jesus. Not demanding. Not asking. Just saying, “My faith is broken. But I’m not letting go. I still believe. In spite of everything.”
She was concerned about many things.
But she came to be concerned only with one thing.
Martha who believed in faith that her brother would be healed.
Martha who sent word to Jesus.
Martha who received back the messenger and wondered why Jesus wasn’t with him.
Martha who waited…
Martha who tended her brother in his sickness.
Martha who occasionally gazed down the road.
Martha who watched him suffer…and die.
Martha who remained strong
Who made arrangements.
Who cared for her sister.
Who buried her brother—the brother she had believed Jesus would save.
Martha who watched her sister melt down in emotion.
Martha who saw Jesus coming.
Martha who was prepared to meet him.
Martha who lost her miracle and still blessed the tardy miracle-maker
Martha who stood before a man who failed her and proclaimed him to be the Son of God.
Martha who dared announce the Messiah in the suburbs of Jerusalem, in the shadow of Christ’s most powerful religious enemies.
Teach us to wait in faith.
Teach us to believe.
This weekend, on Sunday, we light the last candle for Advent. Monday we have the pleasure of Jada Swanson writing our Christmas Eve post to close out our Advent series. It has been a great joy and challenge to write new Advent content this year. We have a lot to look forward to in the new year, and I hope your Advent has been restful, revelatory, and has awakened you to prepare for renewed connection with God in the New Year.
Prayer: Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Our soul waits for the Lord, He is our help and our shield. — Psalm 33:20
– Prayer from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.
Read More about Light and Dark and Joy :: Joy of Advent
Darkness is not dark to our God. That means that God is not blind to our sins, but it also means that we do not walk in darkness alone. We walk with the God who knows the darkness as well as he knows the light.
Read More about The Fragrance of Faith :: Readers’ Choice
May we make extravagant, prophetic, and lasting gifts to Christ and to the spreading of this gospel, like a fragrance, throughout the world.
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