O Little Town of Bethlehem arr. Pepper Choplin
Music by Abe Hunter
Advent Devotional
Authored by Pastor Ruth

This poem has been my companion through many Advent seasons, I’ve always appreciated how it portrays the sense of urgency of God’s coming to us in the flesh. L’Engle writes that, “he did not wait for the perfect time, he came when the need was deep and great.” Frankly these lines have been bringing me comfort this year unlike any other year. Our needs feel deep and great. We need healing in so many ways and our needs seem heavier than they were last Christmas. 

In the very last line of her poem, First Coming, Madeleine L’Engle writes that Christ “came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!” As we make room for love this Advent we remember that love isn’t just a warm, fuzzy feeling. Love, the kind that God offers to us in coming into our world to be flesh and blood like us, is radical, active, life giving. In love, this baby born for us grows into a man who is love in the flesh for us. What does love look like? It looks like Jesus sitting down and sharing a meal with sinners, healing lepers who had been cast out of society, engaging with those whom no one bothered to listen to, and holding up children as models of faith. Jesus as love looks like always saying “yes” to us even when we don’t, or can’t, earn it. 

Love, it turns out, looks like breaking down barriers – every barrier – to be God with us. How are you making room for this kind of love in your life? 

In Peace, Pastor Ruth

First Coming, by Madeleine L’Engle
He did not wait till the world was ready,
till men and nations were at peace.
He came when the Heavens were unsteady,
and prisoners cried out for release.
He did not wait for the perfect time.
He came when the need was deep and great.
He dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine. He did not wait
till hearts were pure. In joy he came
to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
he came, and his Light would not go out.
He came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.
We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!

Let us pray, 
Blessed are you, O Lord, the source of all love. Open our hearts to make room for your coming among us to show us the hope, peace, joy, and love of God. While we wait, help us make room for love in our differences so that our hearts overflow with it, our lives are rooted in it, and we share the hope of Christ to a world in need. Come, Lord Jesus, come! Amen.