[#pictureAdvent] December 4: SHOUT

By Lenora Rousseau
Trinity UMC/Pastoral Intern
Gainesville, FL

First, read Isaiah 52:7-9

 I have often wondered if I am a misplaced ‘Who’ from Dr. Seuss’ ‘Who-ville.’

 I am one of those crazy people who genuinely loves all the “noise, noise, noise” of Advent and Christmas. I especially love the songs and carols that incessantly play on our radios, in our stores, in our homes, and in our churches.

 Yet… For good reasons, the Church often finds itself wrestling with the tension that arises during these weeks of amplified consumerism. Merchants have learned how to manipulate the sacred news of Christ's birth to capitalize on our longings to be reassured we are loved and cared for generously. Everywhere we go we are bombarded with promises to fulfill our deepest desires with things that can be wrapped neatly into boxes and bags.

In response, the Church cries out with a prophetic voice that encourages us to remember the ‘reason for the season,’ to slow down rather than speed up, to quiet our souls rather than shout above the noise, and to embrace the lost art of expectant waiting as we set time aside for reflective preparation.

For those of us who believe, who daily experience the peace and hope of intimately knowing our Savior, these are wise and meaningful guides for our spiritual formation. But, for those who are desperately looking for evidence of the divine wherever they can find it, these warnings are often unwelcomed and sorely misunderstood.

How do we bridge this gap between the sacred and the profane?

We sing!

Loud and triumphantly! With every fiber of our being, we sing songs of hope and love and peace and joy until they transform us and the world around us.

Better yet, we shout!

In these noisy days of Advent, people are more receptive to hearing the name of Jesus than any other time of the year. We have the unique opportunity to live our faith loudly, not just in the songs we sing but also in the way we allow our lives to become instruments of peace.

We do this every time we take the time to serve and be fully present with the lost, the lonely, and the least among us — those who are most in need of Christ’s cheer. Sometimes this means feeding the homeless or visiting the sick — sometimes it means offering a stressed out mom our place in line.

Let’s take advantage of this unique season to blatantly live our faith out loud, not by chastising the world around us for ‘doing Christmas wrong,’ but by shouting good news of great joy in all that we say and do.

As you do, may the melody of your life unapologetically magnify the mystery of the Incarnation with messages of good tidings filled with joy that is contagious, peace that is abiding, and salvation that is eternal.

So go!

Tell it on the mountain and in the valley, at work and in the market place. Wherever you go, be a voice of good news, shouting loudly for all to hear that Christ has come and will come again!

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

1) What does it mean to join your voice in triumph chorus with all the saints who have come before you?

2) How does your daily life shout messages of good news in the world you live in?

3) Who do you know that needs to be invited to sing a song of hope with you today?