Advent devotion: Moments of stillness
After this year’s first snowfall, my neighbor pushed his snow blower down the sidewalk around our entire block in an early-morning act of service to the neighborhood. Last week at the airport baggage carousel, I observed a woman introduce herself to a mother traveling with small children so that she could help them carry their luggage to their car. Recently I was dreading a tedious task at work when I realized that a colleague had taken care of it on my behalf. These occasions gave me pause, and caused me to ponder the countless ways each day strangers and friends alike extend acts of service and encouragement that go completely unnoticed. How often do I fail to treasure encouragement from others because the frenzy of daily life interferes with my willingness to listen or reflect?
With each passing year, I delight more in the traditions of Advent. The quiet, expectant liturgical rhythm of prayer and worship during these four weeks has become for me a hedge against the annual onslaught of superfluous holiday bustle. And as our culture continues to promote greater franticness and alienation, Advent invites us to slow down, connect with one another over our excitement for the coming Messiah, and recognize through the encouragement and service from others the promise of redemption given us through His life, ministry, death, and resurrection.
May our hearts be blessed this Advent with moments of stillness that we might treasure anew the good news an angel of the Lord shared with a group of drowsy shepherds: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” And may we, like Mary, ponder in our hearts how the prophecy-fulfilling birth of a babe in Bethlehem would one day lead to God’s reconciliation with his children.
“Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord
That hath made heaven and earth of naught,
And with his blood mankind hath bought:
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel!
Born is the King of Israel.”
Benjamin Klemme is associate conductor of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and music director of the Quad City Symphony Youth Ensembles. He and Deborah live in Davenport with their two young sons.