Advent for Cloudy Skies

We recently returned from a family vacation to Ireland. When trying to decide whether or not to go, one of the things we considered was the weather. On paper, Everett and Ireland have pretty much the same weather this time of year: cloudy, rainy, windy, and just not a very nice place to be if you want to be outside. Realizing we could be cold and wet in a different country or cold and wet here, we decided to branch out and travel somewhere new.

Martha’s Best

During a recent Vacation Bible School, my son brought home a worksheet showing a bedraggled, exhausted woman whose face was frantic with worry. She held a pot that birdseed had been glued into and was in a perpetual state of trying to hurry up and get things done. It was Martha from the Mary and Martha story of Luke 10:38-42. “Poor Martha,” I thought, “She’s just trying to make things nice for Jesus.”

On the flip side of the worksheet, was a more sinister looking Martha. One that in bold letters is accused of complaining and grumbling. In the background, looking beautiful, lovely, and pious, was Mary. Sitting at Jesus’ feet, her illustration was gorgeous and sweet. “Martha looks like a total jerk,” I thought (though I subbed in a different word for jerk). “And Mary is so beautiful – look how happy she is.”

Slow Down

Our culture doesn’t leave a lot of room for choosing to do things slowly. Actions that are intentionally less efficient, less attractive, less relevant, and less pragmatic in your life will bring about a myriad of dissenting voices and counsel to change, ”Don’t you know that to be good and right, all of your choices must be based on the latest trend, the most effective methods, and the smartest strategy?” It’s a never-ending barrage of “keeping up with the Jones’” not just in material possessions but in the ways we live our lives.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ

Over the last few months, I have gone back again and again to the book of Revelation. Not to try and crack some non-existent code or to work out when the next blood moon will herald the second coming of Christ, like so many people do, but for comfort and hope.

English preacher, Charles Spurgeon, says:

The aim of the book of Revelation is not to lead us to speculation but is meant for practical purposes. Things written concerning the future are not intended so much to gratify our curiosity as to stimulate our watchfulness. The main objective is to keep us constantly on the lookout.