We are celebrating Advent, but the world around us is racing into Christmas and the “holiday season.” With all the trimmings and decorations, a person’s heart inevitably takes time to reminisce; to look back and remember with fond nostalgia the warm and wonderful memories from Christmases past, or to else struggle to overcome hard memories from troubled times. In our own way, even as Christians, the looking back becomes a way of shaping our lives, telling our story in a way that comforts us. The trouble with such nostalgia is that it doesn’t look far enough back. We are meant to tell God’s story, not our own. When we look far enough back—even to creation itself—we see a mighty God whose hand can remove any obstacle, and whose love can overcome any pain. This creates a longing…a stirring of the heart…a desire to see God move again.
It is true that when God moves—when the Holy Spirit truly moves among God’s people—it is like seeing the sky riven and hearing the thunderous roar of a cyclone. It is like a powerful earthquake shaking the foundations beneath. When God moves, our comfortable personal histories are disrupted, and the world itself is changed. Throughout the history of the church, faithful men and women have undertaken countless endeavors in the name of God. Many of these have accomplished untold good in the world, and yet all them combined pale in comparison with the awesome hand of God’s own self when he moves among us.