What will you discover along the journey toward Christmas?
What will you discover along your journey toward Christmas, where God chose to come down and be born? What is it about this baby, this birth, this Gospel that compels us to prepare our hearts for his arrival?
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Daniel Williams’ Story
And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”
Daniel Williams (MDiv/Middler) has a heart for the Gospel and the desire to help others as they weather the challenges that life may bring. This passion grew throughout his adolescent years and ultimately brought him to Austin Seminary.
“I grew up Presbyterian in a very small town in northeastern New Mexico. I lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as a teenager, which is when I really started getting involved in church. I was ordained as a ruling elder when I was 15 or 16, and went on a mission trip to the Gulf of Mexico after Hurricane Katrina - both of which really helped connect me to the idea of church.”
Williams initially had an urge to serve in a civil justice capacity, but a pivotal moment in high school helped him decided that he wanted to change course.
“Growing up, I always thought I wanted to be a civil rights attorney,” Williams said. "I loved Annette Bening's character in The American President and Sandra Bullock's in Two Week's Notice. I thought that was the way to make a change in the world. And then, when I was a senior in high school, my pastor got arrested in an act of intentional civil disobedience, protesting a particularly egregious aspect of United States foreign policy. That's when I started to understand that the change the world needed, the change I wanted so desperately to participate in, wasn't about some abstract set of convictions. It springs from the Gospel. It is grounded in God's incarnation on Earth, our elder brother who proclaimed good news for poor people and release to people held captive.”
Williams’ contribution to Austin Seminary’s Advent Devotional focuses on the importance of using his voice to speak up for those whom society turns a deaf ear towards. In his devotional he discusses how, “as individuals and a collective society, we often give our attention, our energy, and our sympathy, not to that which feeds life and love, but to powers of death and destruction.”
As we prepare for the season of Advent and help lift the spirits of those who are marginalized, broken, and holding on during a storm in their lives, Williams offers a token of wisdom, reminding us that patience is one of the greatest gifts we have. All one has to do is be still and know that God is with us.
“We often think of waiting as a passive, quiet activity. And there is certainly so much clamor of consumerism and false sentimentality in the weeks leading up to Christmas that a little bit of quiet would do all of us good,” said Williams. “But we miss the real gift of Advent if we lose the radicalness of that for which we're waiting in the quiet and peace that we find. Our waiting is passive if we lose sight of Christmas, of the gift of the Incarnation, of the Second Coming, of the in-breaking of God's reign. Our waiting becomes holy preparation if we, in Luther's words, 'fight, work, and pray' for the values that will define the commonwealth of heaven.“