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By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word: ‘SIGNS’ as in… don’t miss them on this first week of Advent!

I’m usually the last guy to appreciate any billboard or any sign advertising anything on any highway system anywhere. I know they serve a purpose and advertising seems to generate revenue, but you’ve got to admit that sometimes the signs can get in the way of things like, oh, trees and mountains, fields and lakes, the sky, eagles, wide open pastures, old barns, fields of wheat, soybeans, sunrises and sunsets. You know, things like that.

But there is one particular sign—a big billboard along I-94 West, just northwest of Monticello, Minnesota that caught my attention several years ago. The sign along the freeway is a big welcome to the City of Alexandria, Minnesota. In big letters you see the words:


…then in smaller letters,

“Take Exit #103 – about an hour ahead”

Pretty catchy, for sure.

But the name of the town and the number of the exit wasn’t what held my attention.

In fact, I’ve never really ever noticed the words – all I’ve ever seen in the dozens of times I’ve driven that freeway is the large picture which serves as a background for the sign.

It’s a summer scene of a yard; a picture taken from a boat on Lake Le Homme Dieu of some furniture on a lawn.

The picture features four pastel Adirondack chairs and a side table supporting a pot of red geraniums. The chairs and table are set facing the lake in front (which you cannot see) with a beautiful, lush, green lawn to the back (most of which you can see). It’s very captivating. It’s very compelling. It’s very inviting. It’s very beautiful, lush and green.

And it’s very much the front yard belonging to our dear friends, Gary and Vicki.

“Did you see that sign?” I blurted out as we passed the billboard going about 70. “Those are Gary and Vicki’s chairs! That’s their front yard! We’ve sat in those chairs a hundred times!” I yelled. (Why do we yell these kinds of things?)

“You don’t really have to yell, I’m sitting right next to you.” Nancy Lee reminded me as we continued on Interstate 94 West toward Alexandria, Minnesota, to Gary and Vicki’s home on Lake Le Homme Dieu, to spend a holiday weekend with them—sitting in those chairs.

What a moment!

We’re passing all kinds of signs in this season of Advent. We’re encountering all kinds of signs, large and small, obscure and obvious—signs of the season of Advent. And if we’re paying attention, we’ll see them everywhere. If we’re in tune with the season, with all of its anticipation and preparation, we’ll be in tune with the remarkable way the season finds us, captivates us, compels us, invites us—even calls us into the beauty of waiting and looking and watching for what we’re about to encounter—just down the road of Advent.

A couple thousand years ago, along the dusty road between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, on a well-worn trail-of-a-highway between these two important towns there was a sign. It was a big welcome to the town of Bethlehem. It was a big welcome to everything-is-about-to-change. And among all of the other travelers on that dusty road, there were three in particular—three Wise Men, Magi from the East. And they looked up and saw a sign—a star in the sky. And there must have been something very captivating, something very compelling, something very inviting and beautiful about that star in that night sky to cause them to follow it

“…until it stopped over the place where the child was. And when they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy…”

“…they were overwhelmed with joy!” What a great line! What a great little insight those five words invite us to walk into in this season on this road through Advent!

And so that raises two questions, maybe three… are you ready to be overwhelmed with joy? The season continues and the signs are all around us. Do you see the signs? Do you see the signs which point to the star that point to the child?

It’s Advent! Don’t miss the signs.


Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50works project, where be blogs about a different word each day. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche), or on his blog, Thriving Rhythms.

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