One Advent discipline I am following is to read my friend Kerri Hefner's (@k9kerri) blog each day. Kerri is the Presbyterian Campus Minister at ECU and on staff at First Presbyterian Greenville. I think you'll find her perspective refreshing and appreciate her good writing.
On thought I did have as I was jotting notes down for this blog today is that I am well aware that for some of us the Christmas story and the Advent waiting might feel shop-worn. The repetition more tiresome than comforting. I wonder though: what would happen to us, to our spiritual lives, if Christmas didn't repeat and renew its promise each year?
Thinking about promise, I was moved to tears to read this profile of Fred Craddock on CNN.com yesterday:
I am not sure why they did this profile on Fred, I couldn't discover the reason in the piece, but I am glad they did. Be sure to focus on the part about story telling, narrative, and heritage. Read the testimony from his mother, and the way he remembers her, and about the promise she made. As I type this I am so grateful for the prayers of our mothers, our fathers. Academically speaking, Fred Craddock is a titan in the preacher's world. He wouldn't want that title, but he is. Not many people write a magisterial book, a landmark reinterpretation of a field of study. Tom Long's words in the piece are true: Craddock's As One Without Authority (published the year I was born) shook the homiletical world to its foundations. I found a used copy online a few years ago. It sits on my shelf as admiration for the achievement that it was.
I have been thinking about peace a lot this week. It is after all a week to hope for peace as Advent rises and falls around us. I think of that text from Sunday, Isaiah 64: 1 - 9. God allowed me to hear with new ears this week, and I am grateful. Verse 8:
O Lord, you are our Father,
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
How lovely. How challenging. If we are to know peace it seems to me that this knowledge comes first from God. How had God brought peace in our lives? How have we made conflict where God desired peace? Is the old hymn right, that if there is to be peace on Earth it has to begin with me?
My prayer then for today is something akin to the prayer in our church-wide Advent devotional for today: that our hearts would be open wide. Open for God to shape our lives. Open for God to mold us.