In the traditional Christian calendar, the four Sundays leading up to Christmas are called “Advent.” For many people, the traditions of Advent are not well understood by most Christians. However, there are things we can learn from those traditions.
The focus is anticipation. Each year, we reflect on whether we anticipate that Jesus is at work – that He is showing up – in our everyday lives.
Life is complex. Often, we focus on our behavior and whether we are “getting it right” instead of what God is up to. We get so focused on doing things right that we don’t anticipate the God-angle.
The Story of Daniel
Daniel was a young man who was taken captive by the Babylonians. If you read Daniel’s story, you will see that he served as a trusted advisor for many administrations – Babylonian, Medes and Persians.
When Daniel and his friends were taken captive, they were told to prepare to serve the Babylonian king. They were given clothes, education, lodging and food that would prepare them to live like king-advisors. Daniel and his friends decided to do their best, but to also remember that God was at work. In order to help them remain God-focused, they decided to only eat what their Hebrew diet allowed. This set them apart, but it also helped them be better prepared.
Daniel made a choice. He anticipated God. He didn’t spend his energy trying to fit in. Instead, he expected God to show up, even in a place that seemed so far from anything God-related.
No matter where you serve, you can know that God is at work. When the problems pile so high it feels like you are about to be buried, know that God is at work. When everything is going great, know that God is at work.
Through Daniel, God spoke to kings. God used Daniel in a worldly position to make a real difference. Yet what would have happened if Daniel hadn’t anticipated God showing up?
God would have still been at work, because He always is, but Daniel and his friends would have missed it.
Let's See God Work
This Advent season, where do you need God to show up? Here are some ways to anticipate God:
- Start each day with a moment of prayer, asking God to show you where He is at work today.
- Use the in-between space of your day to ask God where He as at work. (In-between spaces are those moments when you are waiting for a meeting to start, waiting for the elevator to arrive, walking to and from the bus, etc.)
- Find a verse that reminds you that God is at work. Write it on a card and put it in your pocket or the notebook where you take notes. Every time you see the card, read it. Soon, you will memorize the scripture, and more importantly, God will write it on your heart.
- At the end of the day, review your day. Ask God to show you where He was at work. Thank Him for His presence.
Kim Martinez helps people connect with God. You'll find her online at www.deepimprints.com.