Editor's note: "Unmasking 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 14 – Love letters from G0d

Isaiah 30:15-26 and Revelation 2:1-29

Recall the most dreaded letter (or email) you’ve ever received. Now, consider the most joyful one. What made one dreaded and one joyful? Was it love?

The Bible is full of stories that teach us by unmasking lessons of tender mercy, adversity aplenty, wonder, waiting, sacrifice, and strength. These themes are nothing new to us, especially in 2020. For some, adversity has set in and extending patience, hope, and love are daily conquests. We continue to see loved ones fall ill, social unrest, burn out in front line workers, families being separated, local and national economies crumbling…the list goes on. For others, 2020 has brought more time at home, opportunity to reset personal and professional priorities, selflessness from front line and essential workers, re-establishing relationships, reflecting on blessings, and becoming engaged in humanity for our worldwide community.

Yet, amidst all this–through the lens of dread or joy—our God is teaching us. In Isaiah 30:20-21 we are reminded, And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Each situation and each day unmask a lesson in ‘love’ from Him. Some may be harder than others, some happier, and some may require us to wait patiently to understand. Regardless, He shows us the way and teaches us.

In Revelations 2:19, we hear, I know all the things you do – your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things. Like the church in Thyatira, we receive good news and encouragement in this season of Advent, as we anticipate the arrival of the Good News of Bethlehem. In the meantime, may you prayerfully revisit and unmask your life’s ‘love’ letters and stories from our Master Teacher to find the gifts therein. He is always teaching us, with love.

DR. JOEY-LYNN BIALKOWSKI-PETERSON is the Executive Director of the Office of Career Engagement and Industry Relations on the Ann Arbor campus and is a faculty member in the Haab School of Business. She has served at Concordia since 2011.

View a full schedule of “An uncommon Advent” readings here.

Unmasking Advent is also available for purchase in hard-copy form. Each booklet costs $5. All net proceeds will support Concordia’s “Living Water” campaign through Water to Thrive, an effort to create a sustainable clean water source for a community in Africa. Click here to purchase a booklet. If you wish to make a direct, tax-deductible gift to the Living Water campaign, click here.

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