Gordon-Conwell Blog

Your Coming Act | An Advent Prayer

December 24, 2012

Amy Gilbaugh

King Jesus,

It's a stunning and shutting thought, the reality of Your birth. We cannot conceive that You would come as an infant, lowly and childish, immature and undeveloped.

So when You said You confined Your sovereign Self to an infant boy, we made You cute, white, and cliché.

Your deity wrapped in flesh, we could not imagine. So we formed You with plastic instead, making You easy to display and pack away.

See Your manger? It's as clean as we could hope. And that stable? It's tidy and smells like cloves. We cleaned it all up, You see. Because we cannot bear the reality of cold winds and dirty barnyard floors for the Messiah we forgot we were waiting for. We've recreated Your birth. Because the way You did it was too radical, too scandalous, too riveting for our comfortable traditions.

We bustle around and make conversation and sing about silent nights because we could not tolerate Yours; the silent and the night enduring for years.

Your presumed absence, we filled. We stopped waiting for Your voice. Stopped listening. Stopped watching the skies for a hint of Your affection, presence, movement, vernacular.

And then You came. Not as we expected. Not as we had hoped.

Silent, but wailing because You were hungry and needed the nursing of the young teenage Mary. Beautiful, but only in ways we could not see. Serene, but only because Your Father sees the days for which "The End" were inscribed.

With these words we are aware, again, that the end is drawing nearer.

And You have promised to come.

And we forgot we were waiting.

Rebirth us on Christmas Day. Do Your Christmas act in us once again. Be Emmanuel now, and in Your doing so, birth in us the ache for Your final Emmanuel day.

As we lay our heads down to sleep this Christmas Eve night, would You stoke our weariness again. Because we are wanderers, Lord. We grow faint, even as we fight to ignore our fatigue. And we need You. In Your Incarnated glory. You.

We pray in the name of the Christmas One. Even Jesus.


Hi, friend. I'm Amy. Mostly, I’m just another twenty-something trying to figure out the stuff of life. I am a nerdy seminary student who loves the smell of old books and early mornings in the library. I am an artist wanabee, a liberal to the conservative and conservative to the liberal, guilty social justice groupie, and a recovering Bible know-it-all with the unreal ability to put my foot in my mouth an astonishing number of times each day. I am a sister to eight of the most hysterical creatures ever created. Good theology, used book stores, and autumn make me giddy. I preach passionately, think deeply, and ask too many questions. I write prayers, poetry and prose. I write about preaching bad and good, gender roles in the Church, the sacraments, stupid things we do on Sunday, politics, and almost everything else that you are not supposed to discuss in polite company. I also blog at oneyellowbird.blogspot.com. Welcome to the journey.

Tags: advent devotional , Author: Amy Gilbaugh , student blogger

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