Every Wednesday during the Advent-Christmas season, we will post a reflection from Larry Livingston, CFCA church relations director. We hope these reflections help you on your own journey through Advent.
ì…for you have hidden your face from us and have delivered us up to our guilt. Yet, O Lord, you are our father; we are the clay and you the potter: we are all the work of your hands.î (Isaiah 64: 6b-7)
We begin our Advent journey with a beautiful and plaintive reading from the Prophet Isaiah.
In a time of exile, the prophet yearns for Israel to know once again the intimacy of her historic relationship with God, even while acknowledging the sinfulness that has injured that relationship.
In a reading filled with powerful images, one of the most haunting is that of the face of God being hidden from the people. It is an image worth some reflection.
For the people of ancient Israel, the ìface of Godî was a metaphor for how they understood their place in the universe. They were the chosen people and God had revealed himself to them.
His face (his loving and revealing gaze) was expressed in the covenant, which gave Israel its sense of identity as a nation.
But now in exile, Godís face had faded from the Israelites’ collective memory, and with it their sense of who they were.
The struggle to return to God and reclaim their identity as the chosen people is one of the fundamental themes of the Hebrew Scriptures.
We too sometimes distance ourselves from God through our poor choices in a world filled with distractions.
In these times it is all too easy for the face of God to become, like that of a long-absent loved one, unclear to us.
Thankfully, Advent reminds us that God is not so distant after all.
For Christians, the face of God is revealed most profoundly in the person of Jesus. In him we know God not from a distance, but up close and intimately.
Jesus is the Word made flesh, the one who models for us the freedom of living in loving communion with our Creator.
Jesus also reveals to us, through his life and teachings, the sacredness of the human person. He showed a love for humanity that was so deep and enduring that it ultimately expressed itself in complete sacrifice.
The life and death of Jesus communicate to us, simply and powerfully, that God is so deeply enmeshed in the human family that love of God is inseparable from love of our fellow human beings.
That truth is at the heart of CFCA. For 30 years we have helped people to express their love for God through the loving service of others.
Our greatest joy comes when sponsors recognize the face of Christ in the beautiful faces of their sponsored friends.
We hope this Advent provides you with many opportunities to see the face of Christ in those you encounter.
What better way to prepare yourself to truly celebrate Christmas, the incredible feast of a God so in love with humankind as to want to become one of us!
- God shares in our humanity [2nd Advent reflection]
- Choosing to be ‘eager,’ not ‘anxious’ [3rd Advent reflection]
- God dares us to dream big [4th Advent reflection]
- Glorifying God with fully human lives [Christmas reflection]
- We are God’s partners in serving others [2nd Christmas reflection]
- Recognizing Christ when we find him [3rd Christmas reflection]