The Advent of Love

Is it all sewn up-my life?

Is it at this point so predictable,

so orderly,

      so neat,

                 so arranged,

                              so right,

that I don’t have time or space

for listening for the rustle of angels’ wings

or running to stables to see a baby?

Could this be what he meant when he said

Listen, those who have ears to hear…

Look, those who have eyes to see…

O God, give me the humbleness of those shepherds

who saw in the cold December darkness

the Coming of Light

the Advent of Love!

 ~Ann Weems

Advent is a pilgrimage. The path is laid before us each year, the journey is four weeks in the making, the destination is a miracle.  Will this be the year that we leap forward into the mystical unknown, ready to experience more profoundly the birth of holiness onto our planet? Will we allow our spirits to be anointed by the supernatural glow emanating from inside a humble stable?

Advent nudges the spirit towards the holy truth that just maybe there is more here than meets the eye. More than the cycle of birth and death, more than the world’s darkness that threatens to cover our inner light, more than the commercialization of the Sacred, more than the fragility of our humanity. How do we make this year different? What will it take for us to look up into the dark night and locate the Star, listen for the angels singing, and for once invite God to truly break into our perfectly tinseled lives and offer us more? I don’t know about you but I need to believe in percolating miracles. I need to believe that when that baby over 2,000 years ago took his first breath, he unleashed a Love into our world that still to this day has the power to work a miracle on my heart.

In these sacred weeks of Advent, I offer up a challenge. May we not ignore or suffer from indifference to the real possibility of the mystical, the mysterious, the lump-in-your-throat wonder of where Advent promises to lead us. Simply put, may we not get in the way of the percolating miracles of Christmas. We all know a different road can be taken to arrive at Christmas. A path paved with too many trips to Target, too many Christmas parties, too many Christmas cards, too many artifical lights and tinsel. Before we know it, we have allowed the business of Christmas to scaffold over our yearning souls. Our Christmas takes on the polish of the gaudy, the shallow, the empty. On December 26th, we feel intimately a shadow descend over our spirits instead of reveling in the Divine glow.

I am wary of calling for spiritual discipline when it comes to the experience of Christmas. I feel like being a mother of four, almost five, working part-time in ministry, and my writing, all these responsibilities demand discipline. And yet, without the ears to hear, the spiritual eyes to see, there is a great probability that I could miss that holy Star in the sky. I could wake up on December 26th, no epiphany to speak of, no experience of a sweetness deep in my soul, no breaking through of the Divine into my little life to remind me that miracles are happening inside every breath. As the story goes, plenty of people claimed they had no room in the inns of their lives before Mary and Joseph took up residence in a stable. You must know those innkeepers 2,000 years ago were kicking themselves on that first Christmas morning. They missed the opportunity to welcome the birth of a Savior in their midst. Heaven forbid, we don’t make the same mistake.

Maybe this year we become more disciplined in our stepping down the path of Advent, silently intoning the words, “There’s room in my inn. Come, Emmanuel, Come.” Maybe we slow down, light a candle, sing Silent Night, linger in the stillness of an evergreen-scented chapel, and allow the glow of  Christmas to sweeten our humanity and remind us of our divinity. Maybe we take the first step in understanding what it truly means to live in hope.

Live in Hope,

Farrell

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