Advent Continued: Heads Up
Do you notice how God tells people involved in Jesus’ birth what is going to happen before it happens? ‘Heads up’, ‘Get ready’, ‘Be alert’ I’m about to do something. Have you ever experienced this in your life?
Throughout Advent I’m looking at what marked how God came near in Jesus’ birth and what that may tell us about ways God is near us today.
The angel appears to Zechariah and Mary and Joseph and the shepherds: this is what is going to happen. You’ve got the ‘Magi’ discerning what is happening through astronomy and even giving Herod a ‘heads up’. God talked to Simeon beforehand, and possibly even Anna. You’ve got the whole purpose of John the Baptist: to prepare the way. This happens often in God’s interactions with people.
It comes in different forms: warning (if you keep doing this the way you are doing it, then things are not going to go well for you, so repent), or a different type of warning (look out something dangerous is coming: ‘Joseph hurry get out of Bethlehem’), strategic info (this is what I’m doing, you are/I want you to be part of it, go here, do this, etc.), insight (I’m telling you this now, even though it doesn’t make total sense, so you will understand later what is happening), and no doubt more ways…
How have you experienced this in your life?
I can think of several times this has happened to me: I had a whole summer where person after person I met with would tell me about experiences of burn out and depression. I wasn’t meeting with them to talk about this, it just kept coming up. After about the fourth time, I started noticing the pattern and decided I better pay attention. I was about to enter into what appeared to be a pretty intense season and I was already tired. Sure enough within a few months I was hitting a wall and I didn’t see any reprieve available in my external circumstances. But, in the midst of it I kept hearing God say to trust him, to repent from my approach to my situation or face the consequences of having to go through what I heard about all summer. It was just enough to get me to adjust (unfortunately not fully) and I didn’t fully crash and burn. I think of those conversations over the summer as the ‘kind messenger’ before the ‘harsh messenger’ was coming if I wasn’t willing to listen.
Another example is how God spoke to Ali and I about our second pregnancy being twins. Had he not done this we would have never known we miscarried. Ali tells this story here: www.aliincali.com/home/dreams.
How about for you?
When it comes to God giving us a ‘heads up’ there is a reality where we may totally miss it, or we may hear it but not heed it, or it becomes a right word at the right time.
Usually when we are living in daily intimate conversation with God in the routine of everyday life (like I talked about in the last post) we will catch it when he says ‘heads up…’. But, even when we are not paying attention, God has a way of getting through to us. Although there are times we may just miss it or misinterpret it because it’s so ‘out of the box’ or unexpected–like so many did in around Jesus’ birth and life. (I’ll talk more about this all in future posts.) One thing is clear, God likes to communicate with us, share information and secrets with us, involve us in what he is doing…let me put it this way, he may be the type of guy who keeps giving you hints about your present before you’ve unwrapped it or the one who let’s it slip about the surprise party.
What ‘heads up’ could God be giving you right now? How has he done this in the past? Talk to him about it and see what he shows you.