With only about a week to go before Christmas, people are under high pressure along with diverse external demands and committments pulling them in different directions and energy levels are diminishing.
Yet we are also reaching the apex and summit of the Advent message that pull us in a different way.
My friend RJ at When Love Comes to Town has a great post here today that will hopefully lift your drooping spirits high.
In this extract below he says this :
"The lessons of the liturgy keep challenging me to let go at an ever deeper level and trust that God is God. If the second half of Advent into Christmas Eve speaks of anything, it is the fact that God's grace comes to us whether we're prepared or not.
It comes to us whether we deserve it or not. And it comes to us regardless of sin or virtue, health or sickness, wisdom or ignorance. Into the darkest places of our hearts and souls comes a love that tells us we are... favored. Cherished. Beloved of God.
Like Mary whom the angel Gabriel celebrates with the words: Hail Mary, full of grace... God comes to us with grace.
Eugene Peterson has written:
"The reason that we who pray need a theologian at our side is that most of the difficulties of prayer are of our own making, the making of well-meaning friends or the devil who always seems to be looking after our best interests." His insights about this apply to this season, too. He continues:
"So often we get more interested in ourselves that in God. We get absorbed in what is or is not happening in us.
We get bewildered by the huge discrepancies between our feelings and our intentions; we get unsettled by moralistic accusations that call into question our worthiness to even engage in prayer; we get attracted to advertisements of secrets that will give us access to a privileged, spiritual elite.
But prayer (like Advent and Christmas) has primarily to do with God, not us. It includes us, certainly - everything about us down to the last detail - but God is primary... and we get ourselves into trouble when we let ourselves become more interested in ourselves than in God.
RJ adds this :
"This week I have been listening and praying and singing the song of Mary found in Luke 1. It is brilliant. Healing. Filled with hope and challenge - and saturated with a sense that God's grace is bigger than all of our sin and obsessions and worries and fears.
I remain, of course, overwhelmed but also relieved for the experience of Mary is what God promises to us all."
My thanks to RJ. for these wonderfully wise words just at the right time....