December 12, 2018

Advent 2018

"Stay Encouraged"


As a small child my favorite aspect of the Advent season was my family's nativity set.  It was ceramic and sort of off-blue in color.  A church member, Elizabeth Donaldson, crafted it for my parents at Scott Boulevard Baptist Church in Decatur.  Each evening, I would move the pieces around, rearranging each character as if playing out the birth narrative was my personal responsibility.  I took great care in making sure each animal, shepherd, and magi had just the right view of Jesus, as well as never allowing Joseph and Mary to be anywhere other than on the left and right sides of Jesus.  Reflecting back, my type A personality was predestined from a young age.  My nightly Advent ritual continues even now as an adult.  My mother gifted the nativity set to me before Chris and I moved to Washington, DC.  Each season, I unwrap the pieces and place the nativity set in our home and secretly hope Finley will one day find the same enjoyment.


The magi are quite possibly my favorite characters in the birth narrative according to Matthew.  "After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, magi from the East came to Jerusalem and asked, 'Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?  We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him'" (Matthew 2:1-2).  I often wonder how they put great faith in following a star and listening to God to find Jesus.  Do I have the same determination to abide God?  What were the magi's glorious expectations of their journey in finding Jesus?  Did the magi trust their glorious expectations of who Jesus would become?


The magi were able to stay encouraged along their journey because their trust was placed safely with their God and the promise of the king of the Jews, even if the king was but a mere infant.  We as humans and as members of the church can glean important lessons from the magi and their journey.  It can be increasingly easy to become discouraged, impatient, and even frustrated on any given day in our world.  But I firmly believe that if we stay encouraged, even in the depths of despair, we are helping to fulfill God's glorious expectation of us as his earthly disciples.  It is through our actions and words that we bring others to know Jesus and display God's grace.  My prayer for each of you this Advent season is to stay encouraged.

-- Rachel Finley Cosme


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