There are 26 days left before our family will be packed and on the road in a 36-foot travel trailer with our 4 kids and hit the road on an epic business and personal adventure around the outer edge of the US.
Last week I (Greg) was able to celebrate the first Sunday of Advent with the church in Seattle that Jess and I helped start back in 2003. I also helped pastor for over 8 years. As I was sitting in the congregation I was reminded of a message I had preached about 9 years earlier on the first week of Advent in 2009. While I was preparing for the message, I was reading a quote,
“Our lives…pass through rhythms of cold indifference, and then God breaks into our lives and we become open and receptive. In the twists and turns of these alterations we are called to a new awareness of life, to new commitments, to a new conversion of the soul. Whenever this happens an Advent has occurred, for advent is the time when God breaks in on us with new surprises and touches us with a renewing and restoring power.”
Then my flip phone rang (since this was 10 years ago) and shattered the silence. I answered probably seeking an interruption from the study and task of writing the sermon, but I had no idea who would be on the other line.
“Hello, this is Mary from the Department of Social and Health services, we have a 6-week-old girl that needs a home?”
I am not sure anything can prepare you for a call like that, but we had signed up for it. We had done the hours of state mandated training, mountains of paperwork, physicals and fingerprints needed to become foster licensed. Part of the surprise was we hadn’t received official word that our license had gone through.
After talking with my wife, Jessica for a while, the fear of the unknown suddenly gripped us and we walked over to our best friends house and prayed together. We prayed, we cried, we wept and talked. It was the first time in our life’s that we knew what God was asking of us, but instead of obedience, we wanted to run. The quote above says “God breaks in…” I think this is curious language as I don’t think of a break in as something positive. When humans break in there is a violation, and something is taken. Perhaps though, when the creator of the universe and author of our story “breaks in” it is for our good. He deeply knows what we need and we desperately need him to break in because we don’t often invite him willingly.
As it turned out we picked up this precious little infant from the hospital about 2 days later. Our Advent season was interrupted with sleepless nights and cries from a helpless baby, much like the first Advent. That little angel spent 10 months with us and taught us so much. She opened our hardened hearts to hope. She opened our hearts to the reality that six years later we would actually be able to adopt our 3 children forever.
It was an amazing time to reflect on God’s “break in.” What if we actually prayed for God to bring Advent to us? What if we prayed for a “break in”?