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 7 – What only Jesus can do

Isaiah 24:1-13 and 1 John 1:1-2:14

Advent is a time of reflection and anticipation, a quiet excitement for what Christmas really means for Christians.

Not long after I graduated as a nurse, I had the opportunity to watch a little boy interact with a co-worker. He had come to the hospital to visit his brother. Before taking off his snow pants, boots, hat and mittens, he proudly put a small brown paper bag on the counter. The bag was decorated with glitter and a big bright shiny bow. My coworker asked the boy, “What is in your bag? Is it a Christmas present for your brother?” With the biggest smile he said, “Nope, it’s for Jesus. Wanna see?” When he opened the bag she noticed a bunch of dead leaves and twigs and asked him why he wanted to give that to Jesus. The little boy replied, “Because Jesus will make all things better.”

I only recently remembered that experience, but I have to say the little boy had it right. I have come to see Advent as a time of reflection and anticipation —a time that reminds me of what is in the paper bag of my life. This season brings a joy and anticipation for Christmas, knowing what God has done for me. And God’s unfailing love for us is so much bigger than a paper bag. As 1 John 1:9 reminds us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Just over a year ago, God granted me the opportunity to join Concordia’s faculty: an uncommon, Christ-filled place where I can freely share my faith and God’s word. It is a place where I feel God’s presence. It is a place where together we can reflect on God’s word and anticipate the birth of Christ.

What’s in your paper bag? What do you want to bring to Jesus, knowing that he makes all things new?

It is my prayer that during this Advent season, you take time to reflect on the things in your paper bag. Make time to enjoy the change of seasons, the excitement of what Christmas really means, and the anticipation of God’s promise to us. The greatest gift he puts in our Christmas bag is the promise that all things will become new.

-Dr. Dawn Kuerschner is the Chair of the Traditional Undergraduate Nursing Program and has served at CUW since 2017. View a full schedule of “An uncommon Advent” readings here.

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