The Holy Ground of Advent

dreamstime_s_75029362Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Exodus 3:5

On the day this Scripture happened, Moses was leading his normal life, grazing the flock as he did on any other day when something out of the ordinary caught his attention. He went over to check it out only to find, as the book of Exodus tells us, “a bush that does not burn up.”

The bush may have been the only thing around showing evidence of flames, but the whole place was filled with God–his voice, his person, and his plan that he revealed to Moses. Even the ground beneath Moses’ feet may have been warm from the fire reflecting God’s glory.

God called his name.

Moses answered, “Here I am.”

Then God informed him of the reality Moses discovered. “…the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

In this encounter with the Lord, Moses experienced a little bit of Advent. In the midst of the ordinary day with the same common tasks that were performed the day before and needing to be done all over again tomorrow, God broke in. His shining glory turned a plain monotonous place into holy ground.

God had in mind a redemption plan for his people under oppression in Egypt. He’s getting ready to act. Moses is the first to see, the first to hear, and the one through whom God wants to work to bring the plan about.

All these years later, God still has in mind a redemption plan for his people. Each time the Advent season rolls around, we stand with Moses on holy ground. God is here. He’s getting ready to act. A savior is on his way. We listen, we prepare, and we anticipate the day when he arrives.

As we head into the weeks of December where full schedules get fuller and the world’s definition of Christmas competes with God’s, the quiet, underlying significance of Advent can help us retain peace as we stay focused on God’s voice. We prepare not only for days of celebration, but also for God’s plans to unfold in our lives. We anticipate not just the arrival of special occasions to make memories, but the reign and rule of a King. One that will bring justice, order, and hope. The holy ground warms with the glow of his joy as his arrival draws closer.

An Advent Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer

Holy One, whose coming we await, you invite us into the light of your presence. Illumine the dim places of our hearts. We are thirsty for your compassion. Draw near to us and fill us, that we may pour out your goodness to all who hunger. Amen.