Posts Tagged ‘Advent’

Planning for Christmas. Preparing for Christmas: Advent Week One – Hope

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Advent, a beautiful, timeless ritual.  4 Sundays.  Each building on the other.  Helping us prepare for Christmas. Not plan … but prepare.

The first week. the first candle.  ”Hope.”

A hope not born of things but born of spirit.  ”Hope that inspires good to reveal itself.” Hope that is the “tender shoot” prophesied of 1,000′s of years ago.  Hope in an event and hope in a becoming.

Time for us to quiet our minds. To light a candle.  To consider.  Where is hope stirring in our lives?  Where is God’s “tender shoot” that opens with our hearts, not with ”fervent hands”?

Welcome hope!

 

Christmas After Christmas

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

“Advent” settles around the rhythmic waiting for Christmas, the time of patience and prophecy anticipating Christ’s birth.  ”Advent-ure” … the other end of it all. And yet ‘the other end  of it all’ at times feels so depressed, so barren.  The difference between 8:00 AM Christmas morning and 2:00 PM Christmas afternoon is palpable, the inevitable let down.

Much of that letdown for me is that I mistakenly employ Christmas to welcome, consistently, the wrong kingdom.  The Christmas I welcome centers around gifts, and food, and the annual “this is the year I finally loose weight” promises that melt come February.   So Christmas then “ends.”  And God, in His gentlemanly fashion, consistently offers a different coming of the Kingdom, one more of a beginning.  This is how Emanuel Swedenborg captured that coming.

The Lord’s kingdom consists in mutual love, in which alone is peace. (Heavenly Secrets, 1038)

Contemplate those words for a minute.  The Kingdom … mutual love … in which ALONE is peace.  And I can humbly receive the gift of mutual love and peace to the degree I humbly offer the gift of mutual love and peace.    That is where the advent-ure might just begin.

“Advent is a groaning.”

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

I love these words. “Advent is a groaning.” And it is.

Much of the Christmas season is a season of waiting,  a season of patience.  If we see Christmas as countdown-to-gifts, the patience takes a certain color.  If however we see Christmas as countdown-to-birth, the color shifts. When we speak of Advent, we speak of birth not gifts.

As a father of  5 beautiful children, I have heard my wife many times, while pregnant, say she was ready not to be pregnant any more.  Those comments, offered in the midst of frustration over aching legs, lack of sleep, tiredness, while serious in a sense, were not literal.  No mother wants their child to arrive in month 6, knowing all too well the complications created by an early delivery.

“Waiting” of course is not always joyous.  Much is just such “groaning.”

That is well worth remembering as we enter this advent season.  God so seeks to be born into our lives, not as a gift per se, but as a living, breathing, look-me-in-the-eyes presence.  Immanuel, God with us.