AAC Women's Blog

Hark, Then Hurry: Advent Week One

Shepherd1

Who doesn’t love an old-fashioned Christmas- a crackling fire in the fireplace, twinkling lights on the tree, something yummy in the oven, and favorite Christmas songs on repeat? I know I do! My music students have been working on Christmas songs for weeks now, and everyone loves the holiday cheer it brings into their homes. 

One of my favorite carols is Hark! The Herald Angels Sing! I always get a kick out of asking my students— what does “hark” mean? It’s not a word we use anymore. According to the dictionary, “hark” means to listen, pay close attention, or listen intently. In the song, it means Hey! Everyone listen up! The angels are singing! 

The back story comes from Luke Chapter 2. We’ve heard about the shepherds and seen them characterized as sweet little boys with snowy-white lambs frolicking on grassy green hills. The real story is much less glamorous: a dusty, dirty life, living out in the fields day and night, fair weather and foul, with a bunch of farm animals. Shepherds were marginalized people.  They were considered lowly by society with no opportunity for advancement- a low wage job, taking care of other people’s stinkin’ stuff. 

Luke tells us these shepherds were minding their own business in the fields when out of nowhere THE Angel of the Lord appeared to them. We don’t know what this angel really looks like, but he is so fierce that the first words he always says are, “DO NOT BE AFRAID!” Too late, dude. They were terrified. God’s intense, powerful angel shows up and the  glory of the Lord is shown around them. 

God’s leading angel tells them— the completely ordinary shepherds— there is good news for ALL people. Today. This day. Your Savior is here! Then, (I love this part!) the sky is filled with angels singing “Glory to God in the Highest.” Hark! Listen to what the angels are saying: Glory to God. Countless voices in praise. What a moment! What a worship service! Right there in the fields with the simple shepherds and those dirty, dumb sheep! 

Can you imagine their reaction? Breathless wonder, praise, and awe. After collecting themselves they hurried to find this Savior God’s angel told them about. They dropped what they were doing and went to worship the newborn Lamb of God.

Let me ask you— What are you hurrying for? Perfectly chosen Christmas gifts expertly wrapped? Pinterest-worthy holiday décor? Parties planned to impress? Nailing your mother-in-law’s sugar cookie recipe? 

Let’s take a cue from these guys- Hurry to the Savior. Don’t just add worship to your seasonal to-do list. Make room to adore Him. Drop something off the list to make room to Hurry to Him. Do less to love Him more.

The end of this story is the best part: after the shepherd’s time worshipping the King, they returned to their work with a skip in their step and a song of praise on their lips. I’m confident they saw everything in a new, lovely, holy perspective. 

Because that’s what worship does. Worship makes work feel lighter. Worship resets our focus from worry to wonder. And worship puts The King where He belongs: on the throne of our hearts.

Hark! Listen to the Word.

Hurry! To Worship Him.

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Experiencing Israel

My hair stood on end on a beautiful 80 degree day. This wasn’t the first time it had happened that week. On day nine of what I had been referring to as the “trip of a lifetime” to Israel, I found myself standing in an empty tomb.

This wasn’t just any tomb but was the suspected tomb of Jesus- the place where the burial and resurrection took place. I had seen it on flannel boards and raised my hands in remembrance of it with the Easter Sunday choir over the years, but to stand in that place was a powerful reminder of the cornerstone of my identity and faith. The spiritual significance of the moment sunk deep into my being…..

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A Thankful Heart in an Entitled World

As I get older I find that I battle a sense of entitlement. Entitlement that says, “I have worked hard all my life, I deserve to take it easy and let others deal with it.”

But you don’t have to be older to feel entitled.

“I make so much more money, therefore I should have the respect of my peers.”

“I arrived here first, so I should have first pick.”

“I deserve an apology. I have my rights!”

Sound familiar?

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Christmas is Coming…Are You Ready? Some Suggested Readings

What is Advent and why would a few books about Advent help me this Christmas season?

Advent is traditionally known as the period of four Sundays and four weeks before Christmas and means “Coming” in Latin. You know, as in Christmas is coming- I better get the gifts, bake the cookies, deck the halls, and …why am I doing all this? With this type of “Advent” I need more than four weeks! It helps my perspective when I remind myself that my hospitality mentor and Christmas décor muse Martha Stewart did end up in jail for something that may or may not have been related to Christmas preparations.

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