Advent is a treasured time in the Christian life. Through the busyness and messiness – the ups and downs – that come through our daily lives, Advent invites believers into a time of quiet reflection on Scripture, focusing on the great joy of the incarnation.
This is the motivation behind the new Advent devotional recently released by the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College and the Christian History Institute entitled The Grand Miracle.
This collection of daily reflections has been authored by a number of scholars and Christian leaders who have been inspired by seven prominent authors from Christian history. One of the authors who was asked to contribute to this project was Dr. Carolyn Weber, Professor of English Studies at Heritage College & Seminary.
Weber says that she was grateful to be asked by Marjorie Mead, the longtime Associate Director of the Wade Center, to contribute to this collection of reflections.
“I have had much rich interaction and longheld ties with the community at Wheaton and the Wade Center in the past and I very much admire all seven of the Wade authors – so the Wade Center holds a special place in my heart for me,” explains Weber. “I was honoured to be asked, and I appreciate the depth of their work.”
In the devotional, Weber was assigned a quote from G.K. Chesterton discussing the discord brought about by Herod in the midst of the joyous account of the birth of Christ in Matthew 2. She explains that this idea of discord describes personally the fallen human condition, like the disordering of our loves resulting from the fall as described by Augustine. The hope we have as Christians, especially around Christmas, is that within the discord of our own lives we can hear the song of heaven in the coming of Christ.
“Even though we are in discord on this side of heaven, we can still hear the tune – feel the tune – somewhere, out around us in Creation, and deep within our own creation, that reminds us of our longing for home, that sehnsucht or infinite longing, soul homesickness for eternity, that C.S. Lewis described so well as inherent in the human condition as made in God’s image, and our desire to be reconnected to it,” says Weber.
With the devotional’s unique blend of quotes from the “Seven Sages” connecting to the biblical story of the birth of Jesus, Weber says that this kind of reflection is helpful for today’s Christian to see that their thoughts are shared by a greater, historic community of faith.
“Looking back at these authors reminds me I am not alone: that others have grappled with the same questions, weights, fears, exultations,” explains Weber. “It is mindblowing company to keep, quite frankly. I am so unworthy of it, and yet here I am, proof of grace in how He sets us in relationship to better know his relational reality.”
“And that sigh, that goosebump, that catch of the breath, as Beuchner puts it, so representative of the hope embodied in Christmas – it changes, well, everything. Every thing.”
For more information on The Grand Miracle or to purchase the devotional, please visit the Christian History Institute website.