Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Read: [Meditate on the scripture of the week.]
Reflect: [Use this devotional thought for a moment of reflection. Today’s devotional is written by Romeo Salvador.]
Advent is finally upon us.
The time of searching for hope in the midst of hopelessness is here. The time of yearning for God’s intervention and anticipating His fresh beginnings has arrived. As we exit these long weeks of ordinary time after Pentecost, we prepare our hearts and minds for a season of renewal and restoration that can only be found in the person of Christ. As Paul states in I Corinthians 1:7, “…we wait for the revealing…”.
In a very literal sense, we live our lives in between advents. As Walter Brueggemann puts it, “We live between hiddenness and revelation.” That continuum of mystery is one in which answers and solutions are limited but grace and mercy are limitless.
As we embark on this incredible time of year in the church calendar, I propose that we view advent through a 3-stage lens: attention, revelation, and transformation.
Henri Nouwen said, “The small child of Bethlehem, the unknown man of Nazareth, the rejected preacher, the naked man on the cross, he asks for my full attention.” Jesus has never demanded of us our divided attention. He never once asked for our preoccupied minds or our leftovers. He’s always expected all of us, not some of us. During this season of advent, may we offer our mess to the master organizer. May we assume our role as clay and simply rest in the hands of the potter. May we develop a laser focus and concentration on the one who redeems and rebuilds us from the inside out.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Those who do not know how it feels to struggle anxiously with the deepest questions of life, of their life, and to patiently look forward with anticipation until the truth is revealed, cannot even dream of the splendor of the moment in which clarity is illuminated for them.”
Revelation is not a final answer. It’s pieces of truth that give us hope for the race we run. We live in a carbon-copy culture ruled by predictability and certainty. Systems and structures are in place to take the mystery out of life. Don’t fall into the trap. Live with the realization that our Savior is in complete control. May we begin relinquishing the reigns as Christ reveals Himself to us.
Richard Rohr said, “We must eat from another table to know who we really are and finally are. When we can live inside this great inner feast of life, most passing things become exactly that – passing things inside of the Great Banquet of inner aliveness in God.”
Becoming is the ultimate goal of the Advent season. Advent is not about passively waiting for God. It’s about actively participating in what God is already doing. His Kingdom is at hand. His presence is readily available and accessible.
Authentic change always begins with having our ears to the ground (attention). It continues with Jesus revealing Himself to us (revelation). And it always ends with old things becoming new (transformation). This advent season, may we begin actively seeking revelations from God by listening ever so attentively to the whispers of His Spirit.
Take a small step today to give “Attention” to the world around you and make a simple gesture of love. As you go through your day, ask God to reveal someone whom you can serve, and then act upon it. Pay for someone’s coffee in line behind you, write a quick “thank you” note to someone at work, or bake a few cookies for a neighbor. Then wait and see how God reveals himself in that interaction, and see how He uses it to transform your heart. Feel free to post a comment and let everyone know what happened!