I love Advent. In some ways, it’s like the hush before the storm. It is a kind of holy anticipation. These four (long when I was a young person, now very short) weeks build up to Christmas, the celebration of God-with-us, the Creator of the universe entering our world, and if we have room for him, our hearts.
A benefit of two years on the sidelines, first with illness, then (hopefully) temporary disability, is a forced stillness. When I can’t run out to the store, join folks on a sail or out for dinner, or even take my dog, Lily, to the beach, there is time to listen. To ponder.
Life in the slow lane is a pace that favors depth. Wells aren’t dug with occasional jabs at the dirt. Our very full, very busy modern lives too often pull us along, blurring our vision.
At that pace, we often fail to see the hurting around us. We don’t have time to intervene, even with a phone call or letter, in situations of injustice. No wonder so many want the government to take care of everything. Otherwise, we might have to step into the gap.
For instance, did you know that if every church in the U.S. supported one family who adopted one child out of the foster care system, there would be no child left aching for a home and place to belong?
Way too soon after my mother died and I released the caretaker reigns, I have had my daughters taking care of me. Somehow, this has made me more aware of the finite number of days remaining in my life, and consider my legacy.
With all this time to think I am more aware of how crazy our values can be in First-World living.
Getting the just-right paint colors or new refrigerator, a new car or grown-up toy can so easily distract from eternal needs.
What would you say if an angel appeared, telling you that God is ready to transform the world through you, but it would mean completely changing your whole life, ruining your immediate and far-ranging plans, maybe even shredding your reputation, and cutting your heart with the deepest pain, along with the greatest joy?
Could you join that Advent journey?
Or would you rather stay safe with Santa and the elves?
Well, fortunately for us, Mary already got that call, and answered well.
But we are each created to be and do what no one else can do. We each have eternal value to live, and to share.
I pray you will join me this Advent, feeling that tug, the yearning for our lives to matter, to be able to love much, and to reflect the Love that will someday return, on the Second Advent, to put all things right.
What is this time of the year like for you? What are you yearning for?