Good Morning Friends!
How are you this Christmas season? Are you rushing? Are you busy? Is there lots to do? Parties, shopping, baking, wrapping, decorating, even volunteering and giving!! Are you excited or waiting for it to be over? Have you thought or fantasized about taking a break from it all?
Advent. I haven’t thought about what it means much in years past but this year my heart is strangely drawn to its meaning & purpose. Advent beckons me to stop, to reflect, to hope, to anticipate. There is a message, a gift, a reason for Advent. There is a purpose in Advent that not only enhances but reveals Christmas. Something about Christmas is lost without Advent. To understand Christmas we need Advent. We need to stop & wait. Waiting. The very antithesis of what modern day Christmasing is all about. But then again, why should we be surprised? Jesus has always been counter cultural.
I invite you to wait with me, I invite you to Advent. Here is a beautiful morning meditation, an excerpt from Slice of Infinity by Margaret Manning, aptly entitled, “Waiting”.
“The season of Advent that precedes Christmas is a season of hope-filled waiting. Advent looks forward in anticipation of Christ’s return, but also remembers all those who awaited his arrival into our world more than two thousand years ago. Advent is a season of stillness and reflection and as such, it is the antithesis of all the busyness and chaos of the Christmas shopping season.
The consumer mentality overwhelms and demands a fever pitch of activity. Sadly, any waiting one might do is more likely waiting for Christmas to be over. And rather than being filled with hope and joy, we wait in a state of anxiety, or cynicism, or harried indifference toward the miracle that is upon us. In all of our busyness, we miss the gift of waiting with hope and expectation.
Yet, the Advent season extends an invitation to do just this: to watch and wait for the coming of the King, to wait for the Christ who comes in new ways into the very messy stuff of our lives—not just one season a year. But we cannot hope to catch a glimpse of him without the hard waiting for him to show up.
Of course, there are those who feel they have been waiting so long for God to show up in the messy details of their lives. Giving up on waiting seems to hold the promise of rest, as the work of waiting is wearisome. Just as there were those in the early days of the Christian movement who began to ask “Where is the promise of his coming?” and those who mocked the divine silence of inactivity, it is not difficult to understand how those who wait for answers—for an end to suffering, for reconciliation, for transformation—are tempted towards cynical despair.
Is there hope in remembering that Advent invites us to wait for the God who shows up? Can encouragement be found in the celebration of Christmas, a celebration proclaiming that God has come and that God will come again in the waiting of today? Is there reason to watch and wait for a God who arrives in ways we could not expect?
Advent invites the world to examine these things with courage. The very act of waiting opens eyes, hands, and hearts to receive this most precious gift.”
Advent Image copied from: http://pastoralyn.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/advent.jpg