Sunday, December 03, 2006

Advent Wisdom

Today is the first Sunday of Advent and a time to reflect on the meaning of the Christmas season. I was listening to Handel’s Messiah, a truly inspired cantata, and the words from Isaiah, sung by the chorus, summarized for me what is important in the coming of the Saviour.

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

The names given to the Child are Wonderful Counsellor, which speak of wisdom, Mighty God, representing strength, Everlasting Father, one who provides love and care, and finally, Prince of Peace, a leader of an elusive kingdom which is free from conflict.

C.S. Lewis, in his book “Mere Christianity”, discusses the cardinal virtues;- prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude. Prudence is associated with wisdom, knowledge and insight and is the exercise of sound judgment in practical affairs.

This is something I need everyday!

When we read advice columns, it is often hard to believe the complicated situations people become involved in. Most of us deal with people each day who lack any insight or problem solving abilities. Yet, even little children, uneducated or simple people can act with prudence and wisdom.
How can I access the wisdom of the Wonderful Counsellor?
I believe that our excessively busy lives, along with the noise and incessant intrusions of the media, block out the gentle nudges and teaching God has for us. God whispers in our ear, but we need to be quiet enough to hear the soft sounds of his voice. We often schedule our days so fully that there is no opportunity for us to change our plans to include an activity that may change our lives, or the lives of others.


A few years ago on December 24th , I was driving home at the end of shortened work day to prepare for our family Christmas celebration. As I took a shortcut down a small residential street, I passed the home of one of my elderly clients and felt impressed to stop in quickly for an unscheduled visit. The husband saw me coming and quickly asked me in to see her. She was barely conscious, and in fact, I wondered at first if she was alive at all. She had become very ill that day and her husband was unable to decide whether to call help, or to wait and see if she would perk up later. I quickly called an ambulance and sent her to hospital.

About four months later I saw her outdoors and stopped again to say hello. She and her husband thanked me for saving her life. She had suffered a ruptured bowel and was in septic shock that Christmas Eve. She was in hospital for three months and required several surgeries, but had recovered enough to come home. I know my part in saving her life was very small, and I felt humbled that I had been prompted to act on her behalf, perhaps in response to a quietly spoken prayer. My story is not unusual and it would be easy to call the events that occurred a "coincidence" rather than seeing them as something of God's design.

This Christmas, I want to learn from the Mighty Counsellor, to recognize his voice.
His wisdom is all around us, evident in creation, nature, his word, and in other people we meet. It is up to me to take the time to learn from him.

Psalm 51:6 Behold, you desire truth in the inward parts. You teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

Advent Post-2

Advent Post -3

Advent post-4

4 comments:

  1. Indeed, we can hear his soft whispers if we are quiet enough to listen. Lovely post Ruth.

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  2. Thank you for this touching reminder of what Advent is truly about ---- taking time to stop our hurrying around, and listen for God's still, small voice.

    This is my first time reading your blog (prompted by your comment on samtzmom's blog, which is a gem as well.)

    I'll be back!

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  3. Yesterday we went to the Hummingbird Theatre to see Christmas with the Rockettes. It truly thrilled us to see the performance concluded with an uncompromised Living Nativity and to realize that "big business sponsors" still listen and adhere to the Almighty's voice.
    Your post once again makes me proud to be your blood line.

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  4. Samtzmom- Thanks for commenting. I know you have learned to listen..

    Evelyn- Nice of you to drop by. It is sometimes difficult to find quiet moments, especially for moms and caregivers. It is too bad that Christmas can be so stressful that we miss the point of God's visitation.

    Omalois- I am noticing a trend away from "Happy Holidays" and back to the true meaning of Christmas. I know many people do recognize the advent of the Saviour and want to share it with others. Thanks for your kind comments. You really have influenced my life.

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