What are you needing this year?
In your heart of hearts, what are you hoping for? For yourself? For your Family? For the world?
What emotions have been rising up within yourself?
At Christmas we hear the news that God has chosen to enter into our own selves. Jesus is born. God is no longer (has never been!) far off, but God has taken flesh - "In-carnate." We learn that even when we did not choose God, God has chosen us. This is the foundation of faith.
In Advent we prepare for Christmas, to receive this news of Jesus with open hearts and minds. We exist in hopeful waiting to see what God is doing within us. We take up a serious practice of prayer to orient ourselves around this news. We draw close to Jesus. Fr. Dan will explore this on Advent I.
We need to say that our cultural world is frantic this time of year, and our own minds are often frantic and distracted. The Advent traditions of the church invite us to really discern what is necessary, helpful, beneficial, and loving in our context. Preparations for Christmas can be very helpful spiritually when done with the right attitude, but they can also distract us and keep us overly busy at the 'surface of life' and focussed on 'stuff'. The advertising around us can be fun and help us enjoy giving good gifts to our loved ones, but it can also be an accusing whisper that we are not enough, that we need more, that we are incomplete. We wholeheartedly reject the notion that we are incomplete, and choose instead to be content in joy, hope, love, and peace. We are enough already. God is enough. Keeping the season simply, joyfully, and beautifully is enough. Embrace the extra work to buy from local stores whenever possible. Support ecologically and socially responsibly options for purchases. Guard against obligation and choose instead willfull generosity.
What do you need spiritually this Advent? What feelings are arising for you in pandemic time?
At St. Augustine's we choose to hold the following rhythm:
Bless you in this season of Advent and Christmas we mark together.
Advent video below: