Advent Week Two 2012

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Advent has a dark brooding beauty and mystery all its own; often hard to capture and voice.  Hymns can be dark and sung in a minor key and the grey unsettled skies can be bleak and almost threatening. The Advent mood is hard to put into words. A portrait is hard to paint.

Just as Easter arrives in front of the backdrop of the Via Dolorosa and the cross of Good Friday, Christmas comes out of the dark unsettledness of Advent.
The moments of melancholy, despair and loneliness deserve to be attended and entered into.

What Advent teaches is that the tension of longing and waiting matters.
While I lay asleep, my heart opens beneath the benign indifference of the universe.
In all the busyness of life’s chaos, lies a deep mysterious longing to connect to the beating heart of Jesus in the womb of Mary. It is an invitation to surrender. 

"When you sense that your dark night is one of pregnancy and oceanic return, you could react accordingly and be still. Watch and wonder. 

Take the human embryo as your model. Assume the foetal position, emotionally and intellectually. Be silent. Float in your darkness as if it were the waters of the womb, and give up trying to fight your way out or make sense of it."
~Thomas Moore (author of Care of the Soul)

 My own Advent this year perhaps more so than in others, is unsettled, for any number of reasons, not least of which might be the state of the world.

 Perhaps part of the heaviness of the Advent season is needed because its voice often speaks more authentically through the darkness than in the superficiality of tinsel light.

The scriptures have urgent tones and dire prophetic calls for repentance, with repeated warnings to “wait and watch,”  for what is coming.  

Yet I am unprepared for God, sleepy in my longing and distressed in impatient waiting.

But the Christian story is above all a love story about the overwhelming love God has for us in all times and places.

God wants us and comes to us in the endless distractions of our daily lives, in our ordinary work and preoccupations, when we are weighed down by the demands of daily life and the nagging uncertainties of huge societal and global concerns.

God's love reminds us all of the magnitude of what humans can be. This is the God who heals and stays with us in our anguish and anxiety.

 Here is the God who gives meaning and hope to the downcast and new life. Inside us the edgy message of expectancy can often begin to take on new and unexpected shapes...

 In this video, author Chris Heuertz talks about the unexpected arrival of "Mary & Joseph" during Advent.

As Stanley Hauerwas says " God has made us a people of promise in a world of impatience."

Madeleine L’Engle put it in her poem First Coming: "We cannot wait till the world is sane, to raise our songs with joyful voice."

The minor notes of anguish can be transformed into something new ; the major notes of joy somehow break through sadness, anger, fear, anxiety and the heaviness of regret.

My life experience has allowed me to know that God is always worth waiting for. I trust in God's promise. I know what He has done and I trust in faith for what is yet to be ! 

 I can pump and prime myself with all the outwards signs and symbols but at the end of the day it is always an unbidden gift of the Holy Spirit that comes.
If joy was something that always was dependent on outward circumstances, Christianity and faith would be worthless.
“A miracle is when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A miracle is when one plus one equals a thousand.” 

Frederick Buechner, The Alphabet of Grace

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