The Unconventional and Unexpected of Advent
A few weeks ago, we hosted leader training for the second pilot group of The Colossian Way. We received some surprising feedback from a few leaders who, following the training, indicated they felt less equipped to deal with messy cultural conflicts impacting the church than when they started.
Gulp. That’s not exactly the feedback we were looking for from a training class. Yet, it’s not really unexpected.
To walk The Colossian Way is to enter into something that isn’t under our control. It means giving up our well-honed arguments and our attempts to hold everything together ourselves. It means we follow our Savior in becoming vulnerable and utterly dependent upon the Father—like a helpless babe.
It’s been over 2,000 years since Jesus came as a baby, and it seems like we’ve got Advent down to a science. The biggest question many of us face is which week to light the pink Advent candle. But things weren’t always that routine and conventional. The Christmas story is full of unanticipated happenings: surprise babies out of wedlock, wise men evading Herod on their way out of town, shepherds seeing angels, the slaughter of innocent children, and a flight to Egypt.
As Jesus matures, it seems his life is never entirely in his control. The disciples constantly disappoint him. His own people reject him. Ultimately, he goes out of this world as helplessly as he came in—a victim of principalities and powers.
But through the uncertainty and mess and violence, Jesus never loses faith in the Father. The Father justifies that faith in a most surprising way—not saving his Son from suffering and death, but redeeming him from the grave.
When the final enemy is overcome, in what surprising ways will the Father have justified our own much smaller faith, and smaller messes and conflicts? What will it look like when we discover that it was not our efforts that held things together, but that they already held together in the One who comes?
Things will likely get messy, uncomfortable, and even painful, no matter how excellently we are prepared. But The Colossian Way calls us to follow Jesus through the mess and pain, trusting the Father to vindicate our faith and eagerly watching for the Holy Spirit to do a new thing in our midst!
I invite you to join me this Advent season as we wait, watch, and trust God in the big, the small, and the surprising things.
This post is excerpted from our December prayer letter. To receive the prayer letter in your inbox, click on the button below.