As we prepare to celebrate the coming of the Christ Child we can get caught up in the pageantry, the pomp and circumstance of the arrival of the King of Kings. I am the first to admit that I get a little too excited about the luminescent part of the season: glowing candles, twinkling lights, glittery ornaments, packages wrapped in bright paper and foil ribbon, even the shiny accents of Christmas scarves and sweaters. Part of the pageantry of Advent is the glorious music, full of bells and soaring refrains of joy and praise. I’m probably a bit too loud trilling out the Hallelujahs and Gloria in excelsis Deo, trying to imitate the welcoming angels of familiar Christmas hymns. Christ does come as a king—but the words of Paul remind me he comes not as a royal personage demanding homage, but as a servant. He doesn’t come looking for servants, but to serve, bringing love and healing. He comes to lead us, but as a shepherd leads his sheep through danger and darkness to safety and peace. He teaches us how to hold out our arms so that he can embrace us—and embracing him, we learn how to open our arms and hearts to serve others, sharing the love Christ brought into the world.
Prayer: Dear God, let me open my mind and heart so that your Spirit will work in me, my actions will be part of your purpose, and your light will shine through me to your glory. Amen. -Laura Still From the Church Street Advent Devotion Book, 2013