2nd week of Advent — “For He Has Looked with Favor”

Upside-Down Advent 2015by Ann McCulloch

It probably isn’t too surprising that, as I was raised Catholic, Mary has been a source of inspiration. Her acceptance of God’s will, her persistent faith despite unbelievable circumstance, renders me awestruck, perhaps because my own faith falls short. I’m reluctant to trust in that whole and complete way, though I’m working on it.

Maybe it is because I fear the upside-down, even though we live in a very upside-down world. There is little escape from terrorism, racism, classism, discrimination, poverty, hunger, division, violence, and disease. Concerns about jobs, relationships, health, children, friends and loved ones affect all of us on some level at some time. Amid this turmoil, where do we find place and peace? If faith is bigger than fear, why is it hard sometimes to
let my worries go?

There is one thing I certainly believe — that God has looked on me with favor, in spite of my doubts, questions, and shortcomings. I feel a presence in the morning light that filters through near-empty trees; in quiet reflections on a sermon or song, in the grasp of Maggie’s still small hand or the sight of Will’s confident smile. I try everyday to trust in and act from this presence, which I believe is God’s love. Faith may ebb, but love freely flows, fueling my faith and hope.

Advent and the Christmas season remind me that God so loved the world, He sent his Son, born to Mary, meek and mild, fulfilling a promise made generation upon generation ago, a promise born from a love greater than my comprehension. When I feel fear winning, it is to this love I return. The upside-down brings uncertainty and doubt, but it also can bring courage, growth and transformation. I see this so clearly in the work of the Silver Spring United Methodist Church, here, and am so happy to be a member of this dynamic faith community. In this place, I find peace.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Please join us for our Advent and Christmas services.

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2nd Week of Advent
December 6, 2015

Luke 3:1–6
John the Baptist Prepares the Way
1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius
Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother
Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene—
2 during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah
the prophet:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
5    Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth.
6     And all people will see God’s salvation.’”