Many of us approach the season of Advent with a sentimental time of waiting for sweet baby Jesus. We focus more on decorating, shopping, baking, hosting and attending social events, and making lists than in actually contemplating what we are called to do during this time of waiting. It’s time to grow up and get real, people.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about decorating a Christmas tree and hanging a wreath on the door. I’ll spend a ridiculous amount of time and energy planning meals, especially our traditional 7 course Christmas Eve dinner that we will enjoy before attending the late candle-light service at church. The lists have already begun. But, I invite you to join me in an intentional effort to focus on the hope that Jesus brings us as the light we need to receive and be in a world that sometimes seems a little dark.
Several years ago, there were a couple of people very close to me who were facing some very serious health issues during this season of the year. Hope was what I needed more than ever. Joy was a struggle that year. During that season when I could do nothing other than rely totally and completely on God to give me the strength to persevere, and waiting on one diagnosis after receiving another was something that I had no choice but to live into. The gift that I received during that advent was a reminder of what was truly important. The decorating, shopping, baking, social events and lists were not it. All that mattered was spending time with people that I loved, and most importantly abiding in the power and presence of God.
We are called to go beyond waiting on sweet baby Jesus, as important as it is to be reminded of the miraculous conception and coming birth of our savior. As we wait once again on the coming of baby Jesus, let us also grow up and focus on what mattered to Jesus when he grew up. Let us empty ourselves in the coming days so that we can be open to the gift that is seeking relationship with us. As we live into this relationship that is waiting for us, let us be quiet and allow the Holy Spirit to fill us with compassion, the heart for justice and the courage to live the radical life of our savior who came to us as an infant, grew up and taught us how to be, and will come again. Let’s take on the incarnation and go be Jesus to some folks who can use a little light.
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