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Advent 2013

Preparing the Way

Farmers in Darfur tilling the field
Farmers in Darfur tilling the field

First Sunday Reflection

By Michelle Okabayashi

This is the real story of Advent. Trusting God to do God’s good work and making way for it to happen.

The four weeks of Advent leading up to Christmas are all about preparation for Jesus’ coming. It is a seasonal reminder of the work we should be about all year long. We are preparing for the coming of the Christ — the One who ushers in God’s Kingdom here on earth. We are in a lifelong season of Advent as ones who are living between Jesus’ first and second comings.

This preparation takes some hard work that is done with unwavering hope that Jesus is coming; God’s Kingdom is coming, that we will be restored in our relationship with God, with each other and with the earth.

These are all big concepts that I’m talking about. But Advent is a big thing.

If I were to take a picture of what I think Advent looks like, it wouldn’t be of a heavily-pregnant Mary, a donkey, or even a stable. It would be the image above. I took this photo a few years ago in Darfur. It’s the tail end of the dry season and everything is as dusty, hot and dry as it gets. Yet, the farmers are plowing the earth and planting seeds in fields that look like they would never yield a harvest.

These farmers in South Darfur have stuck their fingers to the wind and studied the signs of the weather. They know that the end of the dry season is near and the life-giving rains are soon to come. So they are preparing what seems like barren ground for a fruitful harvest. In a few months this field will be full of millet, stalks heavy with grain that is a staple of the Sudanese diet.

This is the real story of Advent. Trusting God to do God’s good work and making way for it to happen.

This year as Advent begins on World AIDS Day, let us remember those whose lives have been thrust into the sometimes barren land of living with HIV/AIDS. Pray that the church will prepare a place of welcome, healing and care for those who are HIV positive and their loved ones.

Last Updated: 04/03/2014

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