Editor's note: "An uncommon Advent: the arrival of a Savior in our lives" is a sampling of biblical meditations composed by members of the Concordia University Wisconsin community. It is our prayer that you will take time during the Advent season to read and reflect upon God's Word and await the coming of Jesus with newfound anticipation and zeal through the Holy Spirit.

December 11 – A good thing

Isaiah 28:14-29, 1 John 5:1-21, 2 John 1-13, 3 John 1-15

The first Christmas tree I remember was at our house in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. I was four years old. One morning before he left for work, my father carried into our living room a live blue spruce that held the chill of winter in the dark spaces between its branches. It cast its pine scent gradually out into the farthest reaches of the house. He placed it in a metal stand in front of our picture window in the living room and screwed the bolts into the trunk, adjusting them—tightening and loosening—until it stood straight. Mother wound strings of lights around the branches and hung from them glass balls of various sizes—red, gold, green, royal blue—and strands of silver tinsel. By the time she finished, everything in the living room gleamed with the tree’s reflected lights and color. Then, Mother went to the kitchen,and I sat on the living room floor, wide-eyed beneath what seemed to me the most magical sight imaginable. At four, I understood little about the meaning of Christmas, but I knew that this dazzling tree was a good thing.After a few moments, during which I watched the electric lights twinkle and their colors reflect off the glass balls, the tree began to lean toward me. Suddenly, it toppled, and fell on top of me! I suffered only a few scratches and bruises where its branches struck me, but I learned very quickly that the adage is true: one can have (in a rush of force, in my case) too much of a good thing.

Since that time, thankfully, I have learned about the good thing that lies behind the material trappings of Christmas. What is truly good about Christmas never wounds, overwhelms, or disappoints us. John expresses it inits utter simplicity: And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?(1 John 5:4-5). Jesus was born into our world full of material concerns, hurts, and discouragements to offer us something that allows us to overcome all of them. In Christ, we discover the ultimate good thing. And, to receive this unmatchable gift and make it our own, all that is required of us is, quite simply, our faith.

Dr. Georgia Kreigeris the Assistant VicePresident of Academics and a professor ofEnglish on the Ann Arbor campus, where shehas served since 2012. View a full schedule of “An uncommon Advent” readings here.

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