Advent 2016: Longing

Longing for Intimacy

Man with child, Mozambique

When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
The more I called them,
the more they went from me... (Hosea 11:1-2) 

Just as a parent longs for closeness with their child, the ancient writer Hosea says, God longs to connect with us as people. But how do we restore relationships in the midst of hurt, or betrayal, or misunderstanding? As we reflect on winter as a season of longing, listen to Leah's message below, or read the notes here

Longing for Justice

Affluent Neighborhood in Tyler, Texas

At a time when the prosperous in ancient Israel were flourishing, God sent a message to his people: Just because you are doing well, does not mean all is well. As the prophet Amos noted, 

"....because you make the poor pay taxes on their crops, and exact a grain tax from them, you will not live in the houses you built with chiseled stone, nor will you drink the wine from the fine vineyards you planted.

Certainly I am aware of your many rebellious acts and your numerous sins. You torment the innocent, you take bribes, and you deny justice to the needy at the city gate" (Amos, 5:11-12) 

By calling out the successful in society for their clever dealing, their shrewd success, and their complacency towards the poor, God re-directs their attention away from their own profit and towards the poor and those in need. So at a time where the rich ascend in our own churches and society, how do we stand with the poor? Listen in for more of Amos' message, or read the notes here

Longing for Wholeness

Bear Hug

You've heard the story of the Velveteen Rabbit--a beautiful stuffed animal run ragged by the loving attentions of a child. Yet through trying to find his purpose as a toy, the rabbit moves towards wholeness--towards being and feeling real.

But what does it mean to be real, and whole again? This week, we're thinking with the ancient writer Micah about what it means for the world to be made whole again--for broken people to heal and flourish, for communities to come together and countries to be at peace. Yet to get there, we need to pay attention to what we've been ignoring or pushing away--both in our own selves and in the world around us. Listen in below for more on moving towards wholeness, or read Leah's speaking notes here

Longing for Encouragement

By Liesel (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Liesel (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Don't feel much like Decking the Halls right now?  Too in touch with the pain, injustice, and fear this year has triggered? You're in good company. This Advent at Haven we will not paper over pain and lament with Holiday wrapping, but rather we will sit in the discomfort and longing, and call out to God to break into our world again. As we do so, we'll look to the Minor Prophets for inspiration, as they too lived in dark times but yearned and lamented for the Light of God to break through the darkness. 

This first week, we look at Habakkuk, and how he speaks into our longing for encouragement. Listen along or read the notes.