Advent Day 1: A Widening of the Imagination

This year I tried something new – I blogged through the 40 days of Lent. It was a challenge for sure, but I enjoyed it. And I’ve decided to blog through the days of Advent (which begins today and runs through December 24). I hope you’ll join me on this journey of waiting and anticipating the coming of Immanuel, God with us, each day this month.

Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her. —Luke 1.38

Madeleine L’Engle, the author of A Wrinkle in Time, wrote: As for Mary… she had not lost her childlike creative acceptance of the realities moving on the other side of the everyday world. We lose our ability to see angels as we grow older, and that is a tragic loss.

God, through the angel Gabriel, called on Mary to do what, in the world’s eyes, is impossible, and instead of saying, “I can’t,” she replied immediately, “Be it unto me according to thy Word.”

What would have happened to Mary (and to all the rest of us) if she had said No to the angel? She was free to do so. But she said, Yes.

Sometimes when we listen, we are led into places we do not expect, into adventures we do not always understand. Mary did not always understand. But one does not have to understand to be obedient. Instead of understanding—that intellectual understanding which we are so fond of—there is a feeling of rightness, of knowing, knowing things which we are not yet able to understand.

A young woman said to me, during the question-and-answer period after a lecture, “I read A Wrinkle in Time when I was  eight or nine. I didn’t understand it, but I knew what it was about.”

As long as we know what it’s about, then we can have the courage to go wherever we are asked to go, even if we fear that the road may take us through danger and pain.

The poet Luci Shaw said, “It came to me, recently, that faith is a certain widening of the imagination. When Mary asked the Angel, ‘How shall these things be?’ she was asking God to widen her imagination. All my life I have been requesting the same thing—a baptized imagination that has a wide enough faith to see the numinous in the ordinary. Without discarding reason, or analysis, I seek from my Muse, the Holy Spirit, images that will open up reality and pull me in to its center.

I too want what Luci Shaw is describing:

An ever widening of the imagination.

A baptized imagination.


How blue is the sea, how blue is the sky, how blue and tiny and redeemable everything is, even you, even your eyes, even your imagination. —Mary Oliver


I am a husband, father, pastor, leader & reader. I love God, love people & love life.

2 Comments to Advent Day 1: A Widening of the Imagination

  1. Brian,

    You are the best read Pentecostal pastor I have ever known. The three authors you cite in today’s blog are some of my favorites.


    Stephen York (Maine)

  2. “A baptized imagination”; “…wide enough faith to see the numinous in the ordinary…” (I had to look up ‘numinous’). Having enough faith and consecrated imagination to see the little things God is doing, the whispers of His presence in my daily mundane-ness–a goal to pray through, a request of the Holy Spirit in my mornings before I get on the wheel that makes up my day. Thanks, Brian

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