In the silence of a midwinter dusk, there is a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself. You hold your breath to listen. You are aware of the beating of your heart. The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.

-Frederick Buechner

And You, My Little Son

norbury lake sun rays reflect  ch rt DSC_0075

“And you, my little son,
will be called the prophet of the Most High,
because you will prepare the way for the Lord.

You will tell his people how to find salvation
through forgiveness of their sins.

Because of God’s tender mercy,
the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
and to guide us to the path of peace.”

– from Zechariah’s prophecy over his baby son, John (in The Message)

Prepare Him Room

*Let every heart prepare him room*airport mountain clouds IMG_5869


I do love to watch friends and family crowd the doors in the airport terminal building as they wait to embrace new arrivals. Yesterday at the airport I thought about the preparations needed for a plane to land. The ground is leveled, paved, and lit. Air traffic controllers, setting up various sensitive instruments, watch the skies. Airport workers clear the run-way, and prepare to move baggage carts, set wheel blocks, and at our little airport, get ready to secure stairs to the aircraft door.

I tried to imagine what people who populated this valley a hundred years ago would have thought if they saw a light in the sky grow bigger and move toward them in the clearing. Would they run toward it, or away from it?

I asked myself, “Self? If you saw something beyond your usual experience approaching, would you run toward it or away from it?

Honestly, I would probably yell, “Run away! Run away!” and head for a cave with wifi so I could research it.

I know some adventurous people who run toward new experiences. Sometimes it works well for them, and other times….   Still, I admire their fearlessness, their raw faith, and their willingness to risk making mistakes — and  honest admissions when they miss it.

Preparing room in our hearts and heads for the presence of God, whose thoughts are higher than our thoughts, whose ways are greater than our ways, who is there and is not silent, requires preparation. Making room sometimes requires bulldozing established forests of old ideas and creating a landing-place for something that hasn’t arrived yet.

The Advent season reminds us of a time when the world, tired of sinful darkness, waited in anticipation of something more. The prophets told them something more was coming, but it was difficult to comprehend what the Messiah would look like. The scholars of the day had clues in the Book, but they still got it completely wrong, and humility demands that we admit even though the Bible is central, trustworthy and sufficient, we might not have the complete interpretation either. Maybe the people who take the risk of running toward a deeper understanding of the nature and plans of God are just ones who are trying to prepare Him room.

Abba, may I anticipate your plans with the same enthusiasm.