Advent Devotionals: Wednesday, December 10

Paul Elwyn

Wednesday, Second Week of Advent: Peace
December 10, 2014

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”   Matthew 1:23

God with us
In each meeting with Deacons, Tommy will ask a question to encourage reflection. For example, one month he asked, “When did you last experience God’s presence?”

These moments of reflection and sharing occur toward the end of the meeting when we are approaching closing prayer. It’s easy to respond to these questions or prompts. God’s presence, after all, can be felt everywhere and at any time, if we are listening. God’s presence on first take exists where we obviously expect, in any morning service, in scripture, in song, in quiet time, in prayer. God’s presence on further reflection exists in Sunday school, in the lesson, especially in the personal reflections of class members responding to the lesson.  
But perhaps even more powerfully, God’s presence emerges in the many nuances of interaction among our church family members. Simple exchanges from “Good morning” to the good-natured banter among friends, the quiet sharing of concerns for those with health issues, for those requesting prayer for any number of life’s concerns, all convey God’s presence when we listen. Sometimes a facial expression or silence conveys more than words, and God’s presence can be felt. We can unexpectedly hear God’s voice wherever we are and in any context, if we are listening well.
God’s presence is everywhere. As I was banking my motorcycle through 180-degree switchbacks in the mountains of North Carolina on October 27th, I realized that I was not only scanning the pavement and adjusting my line to be safe, but I also was recalling the many expressions from church family members wishing me safe travel, and from those moments I counted my many blessings, including my membership with LABC and extending to my marriage, and to a wonderful life. God was with me.

Although it’s true that sometimes I do not listen well to what Maureen is trying to tell me, and it’s true that I certainly am not a role model in every way, and it’s true that this message might be considered “God with Us, Light,” I am comfortable saying it’s not difficult to feel God’s presence in daily life, in large part because of the influences of LABC, a special place that nurtures listening for God’s presence.

Prayer: Our Heavenly Father, let us listen well so that we may hear your voice, and let us live life knowing you are with us. Amen.