Today’s Advent Reading:
USCCB — December 14th

As a first and second grader, one of my very favorite classroom activities was brainstorming what my teachers called “many, varied things” charts. When we made these charts as a class, the teacher first gave us a prompt, and then we would have to come up with as many applicable objects, activities, or experiences as possible. For example, if the prompt was “many, varied things we love about winter,” we’d probably mention the weather, decorations, presents, and time off from school.

This activity was a very elementary exercise in imagination, but it’s been on my heart recently, and I think it can be applicable and enjoyable in adult life, too. For example, could you imagine making a “many, varied things we love about God” chart? Or better yet, what about brainstorming the infinite varied things God can do?!

Brainstorming such a list would be by no means elementary, nor would it be an activity of the imagination. God is working in each and every one of our lives on a daily basis, so the list could be experiential. Or for the budding Bible scholars among us, it could be research-based. But in all cases, it would be beneficial.

Being conscious of God’s working in our lives opens ours eyes widely to His constant presence. He is always there, but so rarely do we give Him credit for His work. When we wake up on time, we should thank God. When the weather is beautiful, we should thank God. When we finish studying early and get to go to bed early, or when great opportunities arise, or when we have successes, or when we fail, we should always give credit and thanks to God our Father.

An experiential list or journal of all of God’s workings will help us to find Him in the darkest moments, as we remember where, when, and how He has had our backs in the past. But also, remember God’s deeds for the generations and centuries before us. Turn to the Bible to see the innumerable gifts God is capable of giving! From today’s readings, Isaiah 41:18-20 is a perfect example:

“I will make rivers flow on barren heights,

   and springs within the valleys.

I will turn the desert into pools of water,

   and the parched ground into springs.

 I will put in the desert

   the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.

I will set junipers in the wasteland,

   the fir and the cypress together,

 so that people may see and know,

   may consider and understand,

that the hand of the Lord has done this,

   that the Holy One of Israel has created it.”

Each and every one of these accomplishments seems impossible from a secular or temporal standpoint. But through our amazing, capable, merciful, loving, gift-giving God, all things are possible! Not only can He perform geographical wonders, raise the dead, heal the sick, blind, deaf, lame, and wounded, and part the sea, but He can work out the kinks and difficulties of our daily lives. What immense joy and confidence this should give us! And not only is God capable, but He is willing. I know no other parent who would give up his child to live a life of persecution and to die an unjust, painful death, but God did. He sent His son to earth for us, because He loves and cares about us and is eager to welcome us home.

God can and will do not only “many, varied things” for us, but infinite, varied things. I encourage all of us to keep our eyes and heart open for His presence and His actions, not only as we prepare ourselves for the coming of our Savior this Advent season, but also as we live our sometimes mundane, daily lives. If we look, this is where we will find Him.

Lily Gulledge ’21 is a freshman in Weld Hall.