December 1, 2019
We are pleased to welcome Casey Culbreth to the Daily Text to lead us through Advent. Casey is a worship leader, a pastor, a teacher, and a songwriter. She brings all of this together in her gift of writing. She is the Worship Pastor at Grace Church in Fort Meyers, Florida. You will love her. Please invite your family, friends, and local churches to join us for this journey through Advent. -jd walt
Genesis 1:1-3 (NLT)
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.
Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
As followers of Jesus, we begin our year with waiting.
Waiting while the Spirit of God broods over the chaos of our world and over the chaos that rages within ourselves. We wait, choosing not to flee from the darkness that we sense within, but allowing ourselves to sit with our own formlessness, to float upon our own deep waters.
We wait in trust that the Spirit is close to the void.
Can you hear the sound? Even now a new word is forming on the wind, a generative word ready to ring over the surface of our uncertainty, to speak light into the dark.
Wisdom leads us to begin the new year not by charging ahead, but by waiting, holding, heeding, being. The traditional church calendar does not begin the new year on January 1st with celebration and hasty resolution-making. Instead, the church year commences quietly, reverently, solemnly with the season of Advent.
In the beginning, we wait. We wait for the one who has come to keep coming and to come again.
We wait for the wind that blew upon primordial waters and that overshadowed a teenage girl in Nazareth to come yet again and to breathe upon you and me.
Our hearts long and groan for his coming.
We worry that he is not truly already here.
At times, all we can see is the darkness, the emptiness.
We wonder if anything new and beautiful will ever really be born.
Yet even in our doubt, even in our despair, the Lord broods over us as a mother who will not leave her children, as a father who protects his little ones at all costs, as an elder brother who carries the heavy load for his siblings so that their burdens will be light.
We may not see him, but in Advent we choose again to hope that in the fullness of time, we will.
It might be in the most unexpected of places. On a dirt road, bewildered by shattered expectations. In a room with friends, eating a meal and wondering together what might be next for us. In the shadow of an early morning sunrise, when all that we thought about the power of death is turned upside down.
Who knows how long the wind of the Spirit blew in the beginning before the voice of the Eternal One echoed through the vast, empty expanse. In that pause, in that waiting, if we had been there, perhaps we would have thought that there was nothing new to come.
And yet that early void was no less pregnant with the Spirit than the womb which held the precious Son of Man.
In the season of Advent we remember that it is the same with you and me.
We are both oceans of chaos and wombs of the Spirit.
All of life—the formlessness, the void, the darkness, the beauty, the abundance, the light—it is all filled with the Spirit of God birthing newness through all and in all.
God is here, making all things new.
In Advent we return relentlessly to hope. We uncover our wounds and invite the healing Spirit of Christ, the one who knows what it’s like, to tend to our pain.
We look in hope to this God-who-is-with-us, the Word spoken into flesh, the one who shared in the mystery of our suffering, who joined his voice with our own in his cry to the Father, who promised that in his leaving he would be coming, and that one day he will come again.
The Spirit is hovering over us while we wait. The Word who has spoken is speaking and will speak again. May we hear the whisper blowing upon the surface of our bare hearts, “Let there be light . . .”
God is here.
Spirit of God, breathe upon me.
- What is the chaos in your life as you enter into Advent this year?
- What word do you need to hear ring out over your life today? (ex: peace, freedom, joy, etc.)
- Where do you hope or need to see God as we journey together over the coming weeks?