Shepherding Hope – first Sunday of Advent reflection
Today I preached on two accounts of the coming of Jesus – one birth as a child in a stable, the other in great glory riding on clouds and shaking the foundations of the world. The same God, the same story, but a totally different entrance.
In wrestling with these two texts I wonder if what God understands is that we aren’t ready for the full experience of God’s presence with all God’s glory and might. That is more Hope than we can handle.
So God is born, a seed of hope, tenuous and fragile and helpless…. and yet still the savior of the world. God is preparing us for the full encounter. Planting seeds in us that they might grow, incarnating hope for us that we might do so for others. An incarnation explosion as the hope we encounter – small and fragile and yet capable of rocking the foundations of the world – ripples out to all creation.
How are you setting aside living in fear. How are you choosing to leave behind a small controllable world over the wonder and majesty of all creation? How are you choosing hope in your life? How are you not only witnessing incarnation but living it for others through your life?
These are our questions this season, and I will share that again through one final observation. As Luke tells the birth story of Jesus the primary character is actually the shepherds. Lowly, unnamed, marginal players. But they are the main character. They have Christ’s birth revealed to them, they are told where to find him, and given the job of sharing the news. Seeing the child they become the ripples of hope as they share “all that they had seen and heard,” and return “glorying and praising God!”
We are shepherds of hope. Nurture the seed God has planted in you this Advent season, and spread it to all you meet.
Thanks be to God, Amen.