Showing up for Advent?

unlit_candle_by_naiieli-d5o7kea

In this headlong tumble into Christmas it is easy to just show up for Advent. 

Starbucks served “Thanksgiving” blend on the day of Thanksgiving, but then it was right back to “Christmas” blend, an inevitable march from mid-November to December 25th.

We can’t seem to get to Christmas soon enough, with its gifts and vacations, and stresses and families.

But in our rush, do we just show up for Advent, or do we actually expect God to show up in Advent?

DO WE JUST SHOW UP FOR ADVENT?

It is easy to do in our culture, where we running around trying to finish off the year strong, get our friends and family just the things (or just shooting out gift cards because we have no idea what the right thing is).  We have parties, celebrations, and vacations to catch.

Or we are just getting by and can barely hope for something more.

In all of this, are we just showing up for Advent, offering the bare minimum of our selves to God because we have given everything else away.

DO WE HOPE GOD WILL SHOW UP IN ADVENT?

What we really need to do is turn Advent around and think more about what God is doing and wants to do in your life.

Do we have a hope and expectation that God is still at work? Or have we resigned ourselves to the life we now lead, mostly devoid of God’s vibrant presence?

When we look at the stories of Jesus’ birth we find people who were eagerly hoping and expecting God to do something.  Is it any surprise that God arrived in and around those who were hoping he would?

THREE THINGS TO MORE THAN JUST SHOW UP FOR ADVENT

1) Make Room: We need to make room in our lives, in our schedules, in our hearts and our minds for God to arrive.

Maybe this means watching less TV in the evening, or creating a time after dinner with your families, or praying in the morning.  Maybe this means finding regular time for fellowship with others, getting out of the house (or getting people into your house).  Maybe you need to go on a spiritual retreat or go serve the homeless.  It could mean many different things to make room for God to arrive.

2) Watch and Expect: After you have made room, then begin to watch for God, expecting that God will show up.

Maybe God will speak to you in your times of prayer. Maybe God will speak through you in times of fellowship.  Maybe God will come to you in a friend or stranger. And maybe God will come to others in your service.  It is hard to know, and you won’t see it if you don’t expect it and watch for it.

by Henry Ossawa Tanner 1896

Annunciation ~Henry Ossawa Tanner 1896

3) Respond: Lastly, we have to respond.  We have to follow. We have to obey.  While making room and watching might be hard in our busy and distracted lives, we must remember that the response is the whole point.

Mary didn’t come the mother of God because we was devout in prayer (though she was). Nor was it because she had a conversation with an angel (which she did).  Rather, she gave birth to God in the world because she said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).

Let us respond similarly.

 

So, how are you making yourselve (your communities) ready for God to show up this Advent?

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