Dec 14 2011

Advent reflection: God dares us to dream big

Larry LivingstonEvery 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 nothing will be impossible for God.î (Luke 1:37)

An unopened Christmas present is a wondrous thing. When I was a child, many times I would park myself under the Christmas tree and gaze at a brightly wrapped package with my name on it, trying to guess what was inside.

My imagination would always kick into high gear on such occasions. This was possible because of the simplicity of a childís mind, which knows nothing of recessions, budgets or the laws of physics.

As far as I was concerned those presents could be anything, and believing that gave me the freedom to dream big.

Sadly, that sense of infinite possibility tends to fade away as we grow older, especially where God is concerned.

Instead of embracing the glory and wonder of our Creator, in our limited imaginations we try to rein God in.

The Scripture readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent include two stories of people struggling to understand the limitlessness of God. In each situation, God lovingly reminds the person in the story of who he or she is dealing with.

Maria, CFCA sponsored child in El Salvador, goes to the Museo Tin Marin, a children's museum, in San Salvador on a CFCA mission awareness trip

Maria, right, a CFCA sponsored child in El Salvador, goes to the Museo Tin Marin, a children's museum, in San Salvador on a July 2011 mission awareness trip.

In the first reading King David wants to build a temple to house the Ark of the Covenant ñ in other words, a house for God. While his intentions are good, what David proposes would essentially put God in a box.

The king is reminded that all he has achieved and would achieve in the future is due to Godís power. How could such a wondrous God be contained in any structure, however grand?

Davidís failure here is one of vision. He wants to do right by God, but his limited imagination bogs him down in conventional thinking.

It was the same struggle Mary would have centuries later when approached by the Angel Gabriel to become the mother of Jesus.

Mary wants to surrender completely to Godís will but has an understandably hard time wrapping her mind around the notion that she could remain a virgin and give birth to the Savior.

The angelís simple response: ìNothing will be impossible for God.î Mary accepts the angelís word even without understanding it, and we know how that turned out.

David and Mary are two of the great heroes of salvation history, yet even they struggled with the idea that God can transcend any and all boundaries.

What each learned, ultimately and to their credit, is that the more humble the circumstances, the more profoundly Godís glory is revealed.

CFCA sponsors are blessed to know that God has been revealed to them in the lives of their sponsored friends and others who live in great poverty.

The leap of faith they took in saying yes to sponsorship may not have been as courageous as the yes of Mary in becoming the mother of Jesus, but that doesnít matter.

In each case ñ as in every life-affirming decision ñ the love of God is made manifest.

So as we move toward Christmas, let us ponder the God of the possible ñ the God of David, the God of Mary, and the God who dares us to dream big.

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