Awake and Alert in the Season of Advent

It’s here! It’s here! The season of advent is upon us. Often advent is described as a time of waiting. We wait for the coming of Christ. Our Scripture for this week invites us instead to take a more active approach. Mark 13:24-37 charges us with being alert! Be aware!

What are the ways in which God’s presence is being made known to us in this season and behind? Are we watching? Are we listening? Are we open to the ways God is meeting us in the world?

Throughout scripture, God calls upon the people to pay attention in a variety of ways. One such way is through names. Names have meaning and power. Think about it, in this season of Advent when we celebrate the coming of Christ, in Matthew’s account of the Christmas story, we learn that the child being born is to be named Emmanuel, which means “God is with us” (Matthew 1:23). If we look to the Old Testament, who can forget the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel? After wrestling, a man asks Jacob for his name and then tells him that he shall be named Israel for he “has striven with God and with humans and has prevailed” (Genesis 32:29). Just a verse later, Jacob, who is now Israel, names the place in which this moment occurs Peniel, where he had “seen God face to face and yet (his) life was preserved.”

In my own seeking to be alert, to be aware, through a time of prayer and discernment, names have been on my mind a lot lately. In paying attention to the ways God is moving in my life, I have decided it is time to invite you to use my new name. This is a name, Andi, that feels like a better fit for who I am and is a celebration of my relationship with my family. Andi is short for Andersen Reed Voinovich, a combination of surnames in my family. Sometimes names have meaning, and this is the meaning of mine.

On this first Sunday of Advent, as we worship together over Zoom, we will take time to listen, to learn, to open our hearts to all that God is inviting us to be aware and alert of in our lives this season and beyond. See you on Sunday!

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