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Advent Reflections: Images We Carry

'Giving Hands and Red Pushpin' photo (c) 2009, Artotem - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Editor's note: This Advent season, Bread Blog will be running a series of reflections written by lay members of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. This post is reprinted, with permission, from the church's 2013 Advent Meditations booklet.

By Kathryn Sparks

Lectionary readings:

Isaiah 10:5-19

John 4:1-15

Romans 4:1-8

Try as I might to allow words to arise in me, none seem to come as I meditate on Isaiah 10:5-19, John 4:1-15, and Romans 4:1-8. What comes instead is a patchwork of simple images.

I see an assault of Assyria against the Israelites, by God's sanction.

I see Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well as she asks him for "that living water."

These pictures take place against the backdrop of an open hand, signifying that righteousness cannot be attained through work, but is freely received by faith.

Sometimes words cannot express my longings—or God's longings for me. Each Advent, my fingers strum the pages of the familiar story, and I find I'm on the edge of something in my life—a yearly inner birth to mirror the birth of Christ for the world again.

Pictures (in color, movement, clay, music, silence, the flicker of a candle) often help us to "see" differently. And God, I want to see with new eyes. I want to be that Samaritan woman next to Jesus, and let Your Living Water all over the desert corners of my being.

What images do we carry? What are the pictures that point us to our beloved Christ Child, the birth of God? Let's visit and revisit them and see anew!

Kathryn Sparks is a member of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, in Washington, D.C.


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