Thursday, December 1, 2011

Small Signs

I am almost a week into my Advent readings, but the words from the first day replay in my mind:
"I keep expecting loud and impressive events to convince me and others of God's saving power....Our temptation is to be distracted by them....When I have no eyes for the small signs of God's presence.... I will always remain tempted to despair." (Henri J.M. Nouwen, Gracias! A Latin American Journal)
Loud and impressive events call our name - especially from the Thanksgiving holidays until we greet the New Year. Why is that? We attend concerts , home tours, light displays and parties. We celebrate at church with extra events, musicals and services. We plan outings and shopping sprees before dawn ( I only did that once.) We look around to see if we could just add one more "touch" to our already decorated home.
We don't mean to be attracted to the loud and impressive but we are. I just returned from a visit to the largest private home in North America - the beautiful Biltmore Estate in North Carolina. Wowed by the decorations and number of Christmas trees, I came home convinced that I, too, should have something festive in all my rooms - well, until I started upstairs to the bedrooms and realized my boxes were empty. Maybe, I thought, I could just add a small touch to each room--a vase of evergreens in my own, the Christmas "Joy" pillow in one daughter's chair, the outgrown Nutcrackers guarding my son's dresser and a stuffed Frosty The Snowman snuggling on another child's bed. All small signs of the season I love. All small signs of this season of joy - anticipating and waiting for the celebration of Christ's arrival in Bethlehem.
Do you have eyes for the small signs of Jesus this Christmas? My devotional challenged me to see one small sign every day that God is present in my life. Today it was a friend who asked me to pray with her. We sat by her fire and thanked and requested and praised - and wondered about the small child who grew up and changed eternity, and then changed us. Quiet and unimpressive to the world, this small sign of eternity went quietly about the business of his life and I am the recipient of that wondrous love.

The small sign comes again to all of us. Where do you see Him?

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