The Mystery of Advent: Saving 2020

Reflections from Dr. Howell

Advent began… yesterday! I love the way two plot lines interweave for us during December each year. It’s Christmas, so all the lights, tinsel, bows, chestnuts, stockings.

My favorite podcast I’ve heard in 2020 (so far!) has been the BBC’s “13 Minutes to the Moon.” Americans ventured into space and onto the moon when I was a kid. My career dream was to be the first astronaut on Mars. We quit going places like the moon, and I got sidetracked into another line of work…

Episode 6 recounts the first manned orbit around the moon. As Apollo 8 emerged from the dark side of the moon, they snapped stunning photos of the earth, glowing like a jewel, so beautiful, our home. And then Jim Lovell, Bill Anders and Frank Borman read, for all of us to hear, Genesis chapter 1. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

That was Christmas Eve, 1968 – arguably a far worse year than 2020 has been. Riots, Vietnam, assassinations, turmoil everywhere, cynicism rampant. A woman wrote a note to NASA saying simply “Thank you for saving 1968.”

Friends, we have a month to go in 2020. There’s still time to save 2020. There’s time for you to be you, to discover the beauty of God, to live into the mysterious wonder that you are as God’s holy child. The carols and strings of lights and trees might point the way for you to the God who made heaven and earth – and you, and the others. The one who couldn’t bear to leave us alone, or wondering what God’s really like. He came as one of us, as a small, vulnerable infant, so we would know God’s heart, so we could love God the way you love a newborn child.

Friends, there’s time. One month. Pray. Watch. Listen. The year can clearly be saved.