Advent Message

There is no limit to the Wholeness He will bring.  As we ride sometimes on a roller coaster and sometimes in slow motion, we catch of glimpse of our own faith.  Maybe from a mirror reflection.  Perhaps from a relationship.  Sometimes in tangible moments with God.

I have seen glimpses of myself recently.  I had the very honest moment of speaking out loud the fear I have been holding onto for as long as I can remember.  I have been brave on many occasions.  I even have a large well of peace and calm that the people I am close to see in me.  But, at the floor of it all, I have stored fear.

Ruth is my personal hero.  I always think of her on the threshing floor speaking truth in the dark night to Boaz.  I like to think I would do the same under the same set of circumstances.  And, I probably would.  But, there on the floor, I would still be holding onto my fear.

Something happened the last few days.  Because God is good, He had no plan for me to store up my fear until kingdom come.  I unexpectedly spoke my fear out loud to someone I trust.  She prayed and prayed and I listened and listened.

If you are whole, there is no fear.  I used to be afraid about things that are too personal to share here.  I have gifts in me to give and it’s okay that some may not want them.  I have faith in the future of my kids despite my imperfect life.  I used to be afraid but that is gone now.  I am not in chains anymore.  Ultimately, I am free to love God as my Savior.

I have always believed in the miracles of the holiday season.  I am embracing Advent in a way I have not before.  I came across Isaiah 9:2-7 in the Message.  He is the Prince of Wholeness and there will be no limits to the wholeness He brings.  If you are speeding or in slow motion this season, catch of glimpse of your faith.  There is no better time of year to let go of the bottom of you and let Whole seep in to every part of yourself.  There is no limit to the Wholeness He has for you.  Go ahead and believe in December miracles.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.

For those who lived in a land of deep shadows — light! sunbursts of light!

You repopulated the nation, you expanded its joy.

Oh, they’re so glad in your presence!

Festival joy!

The joy of a great celebration, sharing rich gifts and warm greetings.

The abuse of oppressors and cruelty of tyrants —

all their whips and cudgels and curses —

Is gone, done away with, a deliverance as surprising

and sudden as Gideon’s old victory over Midian.

The boots of all those invading troops, along with their shirts soaked with innocent blood,

Will be piled in a heap and burned, a fire that will burn for days!

For a child has been born — for us!

the gift of a son — for us!

He’ll take over the running of the world.

His names will be:

Amazing Counselor,

Strong God,

Eternal Father,

Prince of Wholeness.

His ruling authority will grow,

and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.

He’ll rule from the historic David throne over that promised kingdom.

He’ll put that kingdom on a firm footing and keep it going

With fair dealing and right living, beginning now and lasting always.

The zeal of God-of-the-Angel-Armies will do all this.

Isaiah 9:2-7

The Greatest Love Stories

By Sasha Katz

A few weeks ago, I was walking over the bridge looking at the reflection of the morning sky in the canal. In my heart, I thought about the moment God made the creative decision to put reflection on the face of the water. My thoughts about His motivations caused love to overflow in my heart. Creation is the expression of His love. I am water-logged with thoughts about the expressions of His love through creation.

For a long, long time, I have been in love with the romance and depth between Ruth and Boaz. I shut my eyes and think of what it was like for Boaz to wake up with Ruth on the surface below him. Where she was waiting for him to see her. To accept her marriage proposal. In the blue glow of midnight. I think about the months before as she walked Boaz’s fields collecting barley. Under his promise that she would be safe in his meadows. Their love story began in fields where Boaz first noticed Ruth. I have to think that the fields brought out the golden amber in her skin. I have to think that she glanced at him through the waving field that was the distance between them. I think about their love in light of blue of night and amber of day. We express our love in the midst of His creation.

Ten years ago I read Donald Miller‘s Searching for God Knows What. There is this mind blowing chapter that envisions Adam and Eve’s love story. He suggests that Adam was a sort of lonely naturalist naming and categorizing the planet’s animals for about 100 years before he met Eve. All that time, Adam did not find someone like him that he could connect with. When Adam finally sees Eve for the first time, Miller describes that Adam was seeing a person who was like him, only more beautiful, and smarter than him in the ways of relationships. He must have thought to himself that she was perfect, and after a few days of just talking and getting to know each other, they must have fallen deeply in love. This is all among God’s creation. They fell in love in the midst of His creation.

Driving one afternoon, I listened to Dr. Bob Barnes and his guest ponder woman as night and man as day. It’s a deep thought that just like the Spirit hovered over the waters and carved out darkness and light, He carved out of His image woman and man. Just as he named the light and darkness to complete the first day, He created Adam and Eve to make something really good together. Something complete. Out of His creativity and love.

Miller says that sometime after Adam and Eve fell deeply in love, he must have gone on a long walk with God and thanked him. When Boaz expresses his love to Ruth for the first time, he called her blessed of God. That’s a kind vertical and horizontal gratitude. When I look at the sky’s reflection in the water, I am humbled and inspired and amazed and entirely grateful for the expression of His love in creation.


Thank you to Tony Gill for Sunflowers at Arne.
I am also inspired by photographs of captured moments of pure love