That was the title of our sermon yesterday, and it is also what’s talked about in the latest Nouwen Advent devotional for today, which is titled “God ‘Unmasks The Illusion Of Power'”. Talk about great nuggets of truth contained just in titles!
Jesus himself said in Matthew 16: “Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how.” He embraced our powerlessness when he took on our weak and failing form–starting as a helpless babe. This is the way he “disarmed the prince of darkness”. Our speaker explained that Advent used to be quite similar to Lent–people were urged to consider their sinfulness, and determine to do some “acts of penance”. Of course, we need not “pay” for our sin (and never could), but for us these would be acts of gratefulness.
There is certainly lots of “powerlessness” around, to reach out to. Christmas is often a time when people do just that… Christmas baskets for those in need, special visits to the lonely, extra donations for the Angel Tree, the Salvation Army, Christmas shoeboxes, etc. When there was a young one in the house, it was a very high priority to decide on a service project, to make sure the right lessons made an impression. Nowadays, there is a danger of forgetting all about that, in the rush and busyness of the season.
Consider this a reminder. What can we sacrifice, in order to pierce someone’s darkness with hope, this season?