Becoming Kindred Blog

2012 Advent Reflection: Hope, "Come, Lord Jesus"

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Yesterday was the first day of Advent, the week of hope. I wrote last week about anticipating Christ amidst the chaos and as I began writing this I sat in my living room that looked as if the girls dresser drawers had all of its contents overturned onto the floor. My kitchen had complete and total evidence that the last few days had been solely focused on the Christmas market where I was selling and Dan busking and doing photography.

Advent is here and it doesn’t wait for me to get the table cleared and beautified for the advent candles. So I have a choice of how I choose to enter into it. I’m choosing to enter with a messy house and a tumultuous heart that yet hopes in anticipation.

I’ve been thinking about how and what I will share of this year’s Advent practice here in this space. I’ve had several requests to continue talking about our practice of Advent but the thing is that we as a family are doing much the same thing that we did last year,which is all available in the ADVENT section on the side.  It’s still very new to the girls and they help us see the familiar from a different perspective as they ask questions and participate. I'm sure I won't be able to resist sharing something fun and childish but for now I'm finding myself taking a different direction.

 

Dan and I have realized that our approach of Advent and indeed worship is quite differing. I love the use of symbolism in our practice. I find that the reminders surrounding me bring me to a place of reflection through out my day. Whereas for Dan, he finds those things to be a distraction at times; it’s almost as if the preparation of them just adds to the busyness of his mind. He longs to find clear space to delve deeply into the reflection of Jesus; I find that symbolism to clear and direct my heart.

 

If I’m being perfectly honest, Dan and I are both rather soul weary. We’re tired and often discouraged. Not to worry, we have many, many wonderful moments. And even though we have the usual stresses of bills, finding work in a slow season, struggling with the challenges and bumps of our marriage and parenting, our weariness is something more. We are longing to hear and to know in a new way.

 

We continue to lead our daughters through the joyous journey of the Christmas story, we light the candles, we sing the words, and while we are doing that we are breathing prayers that the Christ who came and that the Spirit who is within will be revealed in our adult, questioning hearts.

 

A couple of months ago, I ordered a book of Advent meditations, Preparing for Christmas with Richard Rohr,  and while I have a tendency to read ahead,  I determinedly waited until yesterday so that Dan and I could begin together.  I’d like to share the first reading with you. Don’t worry, it’s copyright allowed .

“Come, Lord Jesus,” the Advent mantra, means that all of Christian history has to live out of a kind of deliberate emptiness, a kind o chosen non-fulfillment. Perfect fulfillment is always to come, and we do not need to demand it now. This keeps the field of life wide open and especially open to grace and to a future created by God rather than ourselves. This exactly what it means to be “awake,” as the Gospel urges us! We can also use other a words for Advent: aware, alive attentive, alert, awake are all appropriate! Advent is, above all else, a call to full consciousness and a forewarning about the high price of consciousness.
When we demand satisfaction of one another, when we demand any completion to history on our terms, when we demand that our anxiety or any dissatisfaction be taken away, saying as it were, “ Why weren’t you this for me? Why didn’t life do that for me?” we are refusing to say “Come, Lord Jesus.” We are refusing to hold out for the full picture that is always given by God.
“Come, Lord Jesus” is a leap into the kind of freedom and surrender that is rightly called the virtue of hope. The theological virtue of hope is the patient and trustful willingness to live with out closure, without resolution, and still be content and even happy because our Satisfaction is now at another level, and our Source is beyond ourselves. We are able to trust that he will come again, just as Jesus has come into our past, into our private dilemmas and into our suffering world. Our Christian past then becomes our Christian prologue, and “ Come, Lord Jesus” is not a cry of desperation but an assured shout of cosmic hope.

This is my Hope, my, “Come, Lord Jesus.” I’m holding out my questions, my fears, my deep soul discouragement. “Come, Lord Jesus.” Because within all that is incomplete within myself, there is Hope and he who came is able to handle all of that.

 

I’m sharing this with some trepidation as I usually do with each deeper heart glimpse that I offer here.  I don’t really have a plan for how and what I will share of my Advent reflection but I’m asking you to take this journey of Advent with me. Perhaps you are in a different place, perhaps you see little value in the practice of Advent, perhaps you are in a place of deep joy and hope, perhaps you don’t see the Christ of Advent. I’d only say this, a shared journey isn’t always the same journey and I’d be glad if we could share the next portion of the road together here in this little space, be it through your comments, thoughts, questions, reflections or even just your quiet presence (I'd love to hear a little peep from you though!) And if you’d rather not join me for my Advent segments, don’t but please know I respect that and am glad for the parts of the road that we are able to share.

"Come, Lord Jesus."