Dear St. Mark friends,
The season of Advent is a busy time with lots of activities and events. Yet, it also is a time of quiet reflection as we await the birth of our Savior Jesus. In the midst of it all, we pause to give thanks to God for the assurance of hope and the promise of salvation. We also give thanks for those significant persons in our lives by whom we are blessed beyond measure.
Our spirit of thanksgiving this Advent season stands out in a culture that may not share our optimism and faith. Lowell Erdahl speaks to this juxtaposition in his devotional, “No One to Thank.”
Alvin Rogness likes to say that “the worst thing about being an atheist is having no one to thank.” When life is terrible, it is possible to stoically endure it. But when we are overwhelmed by joy and overflowing with gratitude, what can we do with no one to thank? It is difficult to reconcile the goodness of God with the world’s evil; but, for many of us, it is impossible to reconcile the goodness of the world with the absence of a good God. Our intellectual problems are not solved by dismissing a God of love from the universe. We then face “the problem of goodness” – how do we explain the beauty, joy, and meaning that are also a part of life? Even now, we see the miracle of our own lives, shattered as they may be, and recall the joyful moments of love we have known. We ponder the beauty of sunsets and symphonies, flowers and friendships. Above all, we think of Jesus, who came through sin and suffering to become our beautiful Savior. Remembering all this, we again dare believe that there is someone to thank.
I encourage you to make the time this Advent season to thank those many persons who have blessed your life and helped shape your faith in God. Above all, let us give thanks to God for the birth of Jesus, our beautiful Savior!
Walking this journey of faith with you,