From my vantage point, Advent’s ideals don’t suggest a whole lot of frivolity. The season’s sharp focus on present and future realities tugs at something else inside my spirit, reminding me that “celebration” may not be the highest manifestation of spirituality. Seasonal Scriptures remind me about God’s action in history and what surely is coming, perhaps soon. “Get serious” is what I hear.
This reflective voice doesn’t require the stern visage of dour grumpiness or woeful anxiety, though. I’m called instead to clear-eyed, sober attention to the historical moments I live in right now. “Steward wisely the time you have,” say the Advent prayers, asking me to get done what God requires. To use well the gifts available to me at this stage in life. To deal expectantly with what seem to be basic matters: proclaiming grace, insisting on justice, defeating evil, exposing self-idolatry and sharing joy. The pleasant distractions and delights of daily life can energize and refocus me.
Taking along my sense of humor and penchant for whimsy—both still sharp and useful—I head out to where Advent’s call leads me. I may not yet know exactly what that might mean, but I understand my need to be quietly determined, to take care of what’s necessary and what’s possible. To be earnest, sincere, kind and emotionally honest.
With gratitude for the Spirit’s gifts, I know that I still have what it takes to answer that call. Fingers that know how to write words of grace, ears that pick up the emotional subtexts in conversations. Eyes that can look around corners and through facades to see what’s really happening. Mind and spirit committed to more than self-fulfillment or creature comforts.
I’m Advent-ready to move through Christmastide towards the continuing vocation that awaits me in the coming year.
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