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November 2019

Little Rock Scripture Study


The Cure for "Spiritual Whiplash" at Advent
by Amy Ekeh

During Advent, how do we look backward to the birth of Jesus and forward to his return at the same time? The answer lies in encountering God now.

Have you ever experienced Advent—a season of waiting for Christ—as a challenging time of simultaneously looking backward and forward? We are looking forward to the birth of Jesus, but it already happened thousands of years ago! How do we anticipate a past event?

Of course, during Advent we are also looking forward to the return of Jesus at “the end of the age” (Matt 28:20). We are looking forward to Jesus keeping his promise to return (John 14:3) and to the answer to the church’s ongoing prayer: “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22:20)

These spiritual mysteries, as beautiful as they are, can create questions for us, not to mention a bit of spiritual whiplash! Are we looking backward or forward, to the past or to the future? How can we experience both?

The answer, of course, is by experiencing Advent and all of its spiritual richness in the present, in the now. Henry David Thoreau wrote that “the meeting of two eternities, the past and future . . . is precisely the present moment.” This insight is both wholly practical and profoundly spiritual. Our remembering and our anticipating both take place in the present. We only live in the now. This is where we encounter God.

The meeting of the past and future in the present moment is a rich message of Advent—one we can live, one we can wrap our minds around, one we can ponder in our hearts:

Has God come to us before?

Yes, indeed!

Will God come to us again?

Yes, we believe!

And is God with us already?

Yes, God is with us: Emmanuel!

This Advent as we look back at the birth of Jesus and look forward to his return, let us also look deeply into our hearts and lives. God is with us. He comes to us every day, in every moment. He rests his hand upon us and encircles us with his loving arm (Ps 139:5). In this present moment of resting and encircling, all things have meaning. In this moment, we can both repent and rejoice. In this moment, Jesus is in the manger, on the cross, in our hearts, and coming on the clouds of heaven. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8).

God has come. God is coming. God is here. Let all the earth rejoice!



Alive in the Word Advent and ChristmasMake plans to reflect on the past, present, and future this Advent with Advent: Season of Divine Encounter. Gather with friends or fellow parishioners and prepare together for the coming of Christ by recognizing the ways God is with us. Then savor the Christmas season as it joyfully unfolds with Christmas: Season of Wonder and Hope!

Take advantage of our bulk rates for orders of 6 or more! Free shipping through December 25 on our Advent and Christmas titles!

Use code: LRSEASON at checkout
Offer valid in the contiguous US only through December 31, 2019


Little Rock New Editions

We have new titles available in our New Edition format! Scripture, commentary, and questions together in one book, and a link to free online lectures! 

Letters from Prison: Part One
Letters from Prison: Part Two
The Sermon on the Mount

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