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Thursday, First Week of Advent
December 3, 2009

"A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD." -- Isaiah 11:1-3a

Love, Actually

Advent refers to the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. It is a season of prayer and reformation as we begin to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, whose very arrival into the world was the personification of God's Love. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) And so during Advent, we not only anticipate the fulfillment of God's love, but increasingly focus our minds on the miracle of that love itself. Even now, I feel as though the Baby Jesus of Christmastime is constantly being conceived and reborn. In other words, God's Love can always be made flesh again in our minds, our hearts, and our deeds.

Therefore, be awake and take note of Him whose love seems so familiar to us, and yet is always wondrously present. Indeed, Edward Hays challenges us to go even further and ask ourselves difficult questions, so that we may discover just where God is most needed in our lives:

Daily we can make an Advent examination. Are there any feelings of discrimination toward race, sex, or religion? Is there a lingering resentment, an unforgiven injury living in our hearts? Do we look down upon others of lesser social standing or educational achievement? Are we generous with the gifts that have been given to us, seeing ourselves as their stewards and not their owners? Are we reverent of others, their ideas and needs, and of creation? These and other questions become Advent lights by which we may search the deep, dark corners of our hearts.

So as we read the Scriptures and light the candles in honor of this great season, rivet your mind on these questions. And always remember Him who is now descending, once again, to ask of you the love of your heart. For the glory of Christ and His Kingdom, I hope you have a wonderful Advent!

--Chiuba Obele '13