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…the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.î (Isaiah 7:14)
With the Fourth Week of Advent we enter into the final few days of preparation for our celebration of Christmas and the gift of the Incarnation. As the prophet Isaiah proclaims, and as Matthewís Gospel reiterates (Matthew 1:18-24), God is with us!
Try as we might, we can never fully wrap our minds around such a wondrous reality. The best we can hope to do is humbly reflect on what it means, for each of us and for the world, that God has entered into such intimate solidarity with the human family.
Being human ñ that is to say, being a spiritual person with a physical body ñ has its own particular challenges. Humans experience hunger and thirst. We endure sickness and disease. We canít fly without machines, nor can we move through walls.
Unlike our spiritual cousins, the angels, to be human is to be bound by the limitations of the material world.
And, of course, humans are mortal. More to the point, we know we are mortal.
The family of Samuel, second from left, a sponsored child from Kenya. Samuel is physically challenged.
No matter how we try to distract ourselves from it, the reality of death is ever present within our consciousness. So much of what we do, for better or worse, is influenced by that awareness.
But there is so much more.
To be human is also to be blessed with imagination and ingenuity. We have the ability to hope, to dream and to work to make our dreams come true.
While we have limitations, we also have the will and the resourcefulness to overcome those limitations in highly creative ways. We are storytellers, poets and visionaries.
We are also capable of great and generous acts of kindness. We are compassionate beings whose natural impulse is to love, and we seek out others with whom we can dwell in loving communion.
Yes, in our sinfulness we are also capable of acts of selfishness and cruelty, but like a magnet that always seeks true north, the genuine inclination of most human beings is toward the good.
At CFCA, we are blessed to be reminded on a daily basis of human goodness. In the resolve of sponsored persons, in the loving support of their families, in the resourcefulness of their communities, and in the willingness of sponsors to invest in their hopes and dreams, we see the best of humanity.
The CFCA world proclaims, with joy, that God is truly with us!
In Jesus we come to know that it is not the denial of our humanity that leads to salvation, but rather the full embrace of it.
May this Christmas be a time to embrace in ever deeper ways the God who dwells within each of us and among all the people of our good world.