December 6

Reflection by Shannon Jammal-Hollemans, Calvin Theological Seminary Alum

May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
— Romans 15:5-7, NRSV

          Over the past months, we have witnessed one of the most astounding gatherings of unity and solidarity that the world has ever seen.

          Or have we?

          Since the people at Standing Rock began their protest last April, support has slowly built up as word spread about their cause. Black Lives Matter and Code Pink; Amnesty International and the United Nations; American veterans and Palestinians; Mayan, Aztec, Navajo, Cherokee, Chippewa and Apache among many, many others have shown their support for the people of the Oceti Sakowin Camp at the Standing Rock Reservation.

          Here we have witnessed, in a field, far from the bustle of the world, God’s glory revealed.

          But have we witnessed it? Have we recognized God at work?

          As the people of God, our calling is to name the glory of God where we see it, wherever we find it, whether in a cathedral or a grocery store, an ocean or an airport. Because God is everywhere. But oftentimes, we fail to see God. We fail to recognize God’s face. Whether it is because we are so busy working to meet life’s demands, or so focused on the idols of power and money and sex that we can’t see beyond them.

          We are not all that different from the people who lived in Palestine at the time of Jesus’ birth. We are just trying to get by, to do what needs to be done, to love those close to us well. And like the people of ancient Palestine, we may just miss out on the glory of God because we are too involved in our own lives. But God is faithful, in spite of the fact that we are not.

           The faithful God who calls us to live in unity in all of our diversity, calls us to receive one another as God receives us. To recognize God at work and to name it. To join God at work and to speak with one voice, as we have seen at Standing Rock, because it is then that God is glorified.

          This advent season: Slow down. Take time to recognize where God is at work. Name it. Welcome each other. And join with others in speaking with one voice, so that the glory of God might be revealed.

About Shannon

Shannon Jammal-Hollemans received her Masters of Divinity from Calvin Theological Seminary. She now serves as a Project Developer and Team Leader for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. She is a married mother of three and a member of Oakldale Park Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

Shannon frequently writes for Do Justice, a publication of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. She is also recognized as part of the New Faces of Ministry. Click here to read her profile.

About Calvin Theological Seminary

Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Calvin Theological Seminary is affiliated with the Reformed Christian Church in North America. You can learn more about Calvin at

Calvin Theological Seminary is recognized as part of Seminaries that Change the World: Class of 2016-17. Click here to view Calvin's Seminaries that Change the World profile.