Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Advent's four essential truths


It's happening. We're here. The fourth week of Advent. For me the season rode in smoothly, not at all like a bumpy donkey ride or a nighttime flight by foot. I sang in a choir, sent Christmas cards early, enjoyed my tree, shopped for simple gifts, and reflected a lot about a good many things.

So before we're all swept away in the holiday hubbub, I just wanted to share the four essential truths I encountered throughout the season (my own emphases added). They paused me when I needed contemplation, prodded me when I needed action.

Like digesting that inadequacy is no barrier for God:
I myself am very glad that the divine child was born in a stable, because my soul is very much like a stable, filled with strange unsatisfied longings, with guilt and animal-like impulses, tormented by anxiety, inadequacy and pain. If the Holy One could be born in such a place, that One can be born in me also. I am not excluded. -- Morton Kelsey
Or considering that from insecurity comes strength:
Every birth is an unequivocal "yes" to life. We enter the complexities on earth without any assurance that our lives will be smooth and we won't have difficulties. We don't know whether we will have a disability, experience the trauma of an earthquake or fire, or struggle with addiction, or feel deep loneliness. Yet in spite of the insecurities, the unknowns, all the possible things, that could go wrong, we are somehow willing to risk for life, we are willing to risk for love. Today, in the midst of the busyness of Christmas preparations, take a moment to appreciate the courage it takes to say yes. -- Patrice J. Tuohy
Or practicing the discipline of intentional silence:
In the midst of all the holiday business and drama these five simple and profound phrases from a woman who lives in Cairo, Egypt should give us pause, or maybe even better a jolt, to our souls.

“Silence your body to listen to words.
“Silence your tongue to listen to thoughts.
“Silence your thoughts to listen to your heart beating.
“Silence your heart to listen to your spirit.
“Silence your spirit to listen to His Spirit.”

-- Le padre ver livre, quoting Mama Maggie Gobran
Or simply remembering -- grasping? -- our full worth and potential in God's eyes:
... All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him. -- Luke 1:65-66 (about the birth of John the Baptist)
Maybe these excerpts can do the same for you in these waning Advent days. Happy waiting, y'all. But even happier realizing.

Prayer #193: Soulstice

In these, the final midnight moments of a waiting season, let's not rush the revelation. Instead, let's carry our blankets to the hilltop and stake out seats to watch the sun steal over the horizon, ray by piercing ray, until our eyes water from its brilliance and we forget that it was ever dark or that we were ever cold.

For You are almost here, and we are almost ready.

Amen.

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