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 10 – Unmasking Advent distractions
Isaiah 26:20-27:13 and 1 John 4:1-21
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:10
The Advent season is an extraordinary time of the year as I can enjoy time with friends and family and reflect on how exceptional my life is because of God’s love. During this season where we have opportunities to reflect that love and praise God for His Son, we also recognize that amid an increasingly secular culture, it is easy to lose the true meaning and anticipation of Advent.
The Devil works overtime to distract us and redirect our focus away from God. Even the small things are used by Satan to tempt us. Family squabbles, materialism, and misplaced priorities may remove the Christ from our preparations for Christmas. Even though this season can be filled with so many blessings, we often experience stress, fear, and a sense of uneasiness. Perhaps 2020 has felt particularly distracting to you in this regard. We also recognize that some of our friends and family choose not to accept God’s love at any time of year.
Isaiah 27 reminds us we are invited to take hold of God’s strength, as His nurturing and protective hand is upon us. He wants everyone to take refuge in Him and to make peace with Him. Perhaps this Advent season, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are being called to prepare our homes to welcome those who have been distracted–or have distracted themselves—from Jesus our Savior for far too long. This season, God’s wish list is simple. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother (1 John 4:19-21).
DR. MATTHEW HURTIENNE is the Associate Dean of the School of Business. He has served at Concordia since 2017.
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