Faith & Worship: Coming and going

Published 3:00 pm Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Advent is the season of coming and going. The word “Advent” comes from the Latin adventus, meaning “coming,” celebrating the coming of God to earth in the person of Jesus at Christmas. Read carefully and you’ll see that the Bible is filled with all kinds of Advent stories of coming and going: Zechariah’s journey to serve in the Temple (Luke 1.5-17), Mary’s journey to her cousin Elizabeth’s house (Luke 1:39-45), Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem (Luke 2:1-7), the birth of Jesus on the first Christmas, their flight to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15), and the journey of the Wise Men (Matthew 2:1-12), not to mention the comings and goings of various angels, shepherds, and sheep (Luke 2:8-20). And that’s just the Advent season!

Coming and going is a part of life. All kinds of things “come” and “go.” New babies are born. Children go to school. Holiday visitors come and go. Young people graduate from high school and college. People marry, and move, and take trips, and move to retirement centers. Like our Biblical foreparents, we come and we go.

This Advent the theme of coming and going has also taken new meaning for me as I retire at the end of December, and Mary and I move to Sarasota, Florida where we have family. I’ve had 43 really good years of ministry. The eight years serving at Tryon Presbyterian Church and sharing in the life of this community have been outstanding. We have met many wonderful people here and had some great experiences. We will miss the foothills. And we will treasure the memories and the many good friendships we have made.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

In truth, though, all of us are coming and going in our lives, moving from the known to the unknown. And try as we might, we can never be sure of our journey’s future. Whether we’re driving to the beach or climbing a mountain, we cannot see over the hill ahead, or beyond the next bend. And sometimes it’s all too easy to confuse our coming and our going, our beginnings and endings. One of life’s great temptations is to become so attached to where we’ve been that we’re afraid to move forward. There are important lessons to be learned from the past, and gifts to be experienced in the present, but God’s intentions for our lives are always found in the future.

One of the great lessons of the Bible is that faith never sits still, and life literally opens before our eyes as God invites us to take the next steps on our journey. That’s what Mary and Joseph did that first Advent. Our task is to take that next step in faith, trusting that the one who created us will guide us.

So, whatever your life situation this year, take heart and have faith. The same God who guided Mary and Joseph that first Advent is still at work in our lives today.

Pastor Dent Davis, Tryon Presbyterian Church