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December: Renewed focus in Advent journey


Every morning I get multiple e-mail reminders from the Wellness Program of our health-insurance provider with the heading “You Have Journeys to Complete.” These are immensely irritating, especially when received in bunches – reminders of things left undone. They also can be helpful, in the way intended, to inspire me to be more attentive to the faith journey I am on.

Although I am usually one who more favors the journey than the destination, achieving goals along the way can be a helpful approach.

But “You Have Journeys to Complete” comes to mind with the many people connected with the Bethany community who have or are completing their earthly journeys. Jess Browning directly comes to mind, someone who “completed his journey well,” but also so many, too many to name, who are connected as family and friends in the Bethany congregation. These serve as reminders that we are each on a journey, the completion of which is the eternal embrace of God. In their memory, “You Have a Journey to complete” takes on a prayerful quality.

Advent is in itself a journey, and often with all the activities, obligations, and short duration it can feel like a program to “complete.” The destination: Christmas. The goal: To survive. But perhaps this year it can assume the spirit of a journey, an “Advent-sure,” a being “on the way.” Instead of a “Journey to Bethlehem,” perhaps a daily, renewed focus on prayer, on walking, on thankfulness, on hungering for justice. We are not accumulating points for completion (like the wellness program), but daily renewing our vigor for the journey. For the journey leads not to an end, but to the “Nativity of our Lord;” it culminates not in conclusion, but rather in the surprise of Immanuel, God with us.

Bless you on your Advent Journey.



Posted by Pastor Paul Stumme-Diers with