A while back, my colleague and I were discussing our dogs and how they seem to connect to our souls and hearts. They are often empathic and carry important messages to us that come as a surprise –– yes, even messages from Holy Spirit. Have you ever thought about the moments you become suddenly aware of an “Aha” moment that comes from nowhere? The lightbulb goes on and you weren’t the one to turn on the switch? Have you ever opened an email that wakes you with just the subject line?
God is so awesome in His creative works that even the touch of a paw on our hand at just the right time, can stop us. We pause (paws?) and God invades the space causing us to think, to ponder and reflect on the deeper meaning of our pain, our heartaches, our joys. Or, He calls us into action!
A sunset, a picture or a song can resonate profoundly when pondering the deeper meaning of scripture and can be the altar we kneel at when deliberately invoking God to be a part of our daily decisions.
My colleague’s dog, Donnie, seems to be anointed and knows just when his master is in the process of praying healing-prayers for his Directees. Holy Spirit uses Donnie to help his master pay attention to God’s call to action. Like the angels to the shepherds, Donnie is sent to deliver a message and his master gets to choose to listen or ignore.
Claiming God as a constant companion, just as we depend on the loyal, dedicated, unconditional love of a dog, should be easy –– right? The loyal presence of one’s dog is a great reflection of the constant presence of Holy Spirit in our lives.
Advent is the perfect time to take a look at ourselves, a time to discover just how we may become more attentive to the call of Holy Spirit. The people who were called to help deliver the gospel, quite literally were surprised by the messenger that challenged them to respond to an unexpected request from God. This Advent, Holy Listening will recognize the “cast characters” –– Mary, Joseph, the Angels, Shepherds and Kings, families and communities that would have had doubts, questions and concerns. The decisions of the called would have great impact on the individuals and the communities involved. As Easter-Christians we live with the results of their decisions and we still marvel at the wonder of their strength, faith and obedience to God’s magnificent call.
How do our circumstances mirror the lives of those in the Advent Story? How do our responses to God’s call impact our lives and our families? What can we learn from their responses to help us through our difficult decisions?
Imagine that an email pops up today and tells you that you are receiving a message from God and that you are to carry the Son of God? Nope! It’s Spam. Delete! Is that any more far-fetched than encountering an angel that say’s, “You, Virgin Mary, guess what?” Spam email is invasive and we respond with a quick delete or ban them to junk mail forever. What if you took a moment to ponder and question and seek truth from Holy Spirit?
God’s presence through the work of the Holy Spirit was invasive and drastically changed the course of the world.
Follow us this Advent season as we ponder together and take a deeper look at Advent and the questions we don’t often ask.
This first week of Advent we visit the message to Mary and ponder her response.
The icon above is entitled, “The Long Loneliness.” This is a wood engraving by Fritz Eichenberg representing the “Anunciation.” As you contemplate the icon, let your eyes rest on different aspects of the art. Ask questions. Expect answers. Holy Spirit is active in your pondering.
Imagine Mary’s visit from the Angel Gabriel. Was this 14-year-old young woman ready for the visit? Was it real?
It’s said she pondered the call. How long? Was it one of those moments, like we all have, where a million things run through one’s mind only to keep coming back to the fear of humiliating consequences we may suffer by saying yes?
Was the presence of the Holy Spirit so real, Mary didn’t have to ponder long––she just knew?
How much did she know?
What was it about Mary that earned God’s favor?
What other questions are you asking? If you wish to share your journey through Advent with us, we’d be delighted to hear from you. Please click HERE to email your ponderings and questions.
Please feel free to share this email with your friends and family