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 19 – Appreciating an uncommon hike of Advent

Isaiah 40:1-17 and Revelation 7:1-17

Working as a Lutheran camp counselor in Washington, the hardest part of my job was leading a 20-minute hike up a mountain. I was prepared for so many other things, from homesickness to actual emergencies; but the most difficult part of my job was leading students on this hike every week.

The route was not hard, and I knew the campers would enjoy it once we finished, but some days, I questioned if we would make it. I heard so many complaints, arguments, and reasons why we should stop. I saw campers lose patience with one another, say unkind words, and completely miss the beauty God created right in front of them. I felt like Moses leading the Israelites to the Promised Land.

Yet, when we finally made it, all that changed. At the top, we could look down at camp and see the lake and the mountains behind it. The campers could finally see the reason I took them on this hike by appreciating the full picture and amazing view. They no longer focused on their sore legs, hungry stomachs, or mosquito bites, but instead, appreciated God’s handiwork.

How often do we do this in our own lives, grumbling and complaining until we can clearly see God’s plan? We miss seeing Him through our surroundings and on the journey. Do you push aside devotion time or skip Bible study because you believe you have too much to do and not enough time? Perhaps we continue in this pattern until a season like Advent arrives,and we shift our priorities back on Christ. I am guilty of this myself, but how blessed are we to have such a loving and forgiving Father!

The God of all creation is the God of you and me. This very God sent His one and only Son into the world to bear the sin of mankind. The story of Christ’s birth is an unlikely one. We can see in Scripture that Mary faced many challenges in her pregnancy, culminating in a physically long journey to Bethlehem. Like my summer campers, we are each reminded of this great miracle every day in little signs God places all around us. Friends in Christ, I challenge you to open your eyes during your hike of faith and see these signs so that you may praise the Father all throughout your Advent journey.

Amanda Ressler is a senior studying family life education on the Ann Arbor campus. She has been involved with Campus Ministry and has served as a leader for several missions trip. View a full schedule of “An uncommon Advent” readings here.

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