Welcome to week 3 of Advent, a time where God breaks into our lives as we anticipate Christmas and continue to prepare for the glorious return of Christ!
Also, there are less than 19 shopping days left, so be sure to get that Amazon order in like I did this morning.
This is Christian Year Spirituality, combining the “sacred” and “secular”, with full nods to Rob Bell who says that everything is spiritual, anyway. That may be true, but I still have to be diligent in chasing after God’s redemptive work in my rather selfish and remarkably secular life, a life that is spirit. Or, to put it another way, we have to work really really really hard at keeping Christ as the center and perspective in our lives. It’s not that He has worthy competition for the spot of King, it’s that we allow other things to be competition. The competition for sanctified living is me. If I eat too much, it’s not food’s fault. If I watch too much TV, it’s not Jerry Springer’s fault (maybe a little). It’s really me. It always has been. This is why the bible calls us to surrender ourselves to Christ long before we try acting like a follower of Christ, since it’s so remarkably difficult to act like a Christian without the power of the Holy Spirit.
Enter living the Christian Year: taking the time to inhabit the story of God.
I’m reading a book by Bobby Gross called Living the Christian Year: Time to Inhabit the Story of God. It’s quite inspiring and mightily helpful as we work through the liturgical year at SAFMC.
And he writes:
We mark days…days mark us. We observe various holidays — Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Memorial Day, July Fourth…Christmas and Easter…But we can go much further! We can go beyond scattered celebrations, memorials and holidays. We can go beyond the heartfelt but brief attention we give Christmas and Easter. We can go beyond keeping the year’s special occasions to regarding the entire calendar as sacred. We can, in effect, sacralize time itself.
In Advent we focus on three “comings” of Christ: his arrival in history as a baby born of Mary, his return in fearsome glory at the end of time and his intermediate entrance into our own lives.
(on symbolism in Advent/Christmas as one example of seeing things through Advent lenses):
The dead of winter as we asy, invokes images of…barren trees, hard ground, absent birds and lowering skies…The strange survival of summer greens in the snows had always been a sacrament of the hope for new life through the winter… holly can remind us of Christ with its prickly leaves (crown of thorns) and red berries (blood).
I’m enjoying this book as I look forward to Advent, not as a calendar event or Church activity but as an opportunity to enter into the Story.
We need this like the desert needs water. Our hearts can become so dry that they crack, and we become so adjusted that we don’t realize that what should be vibrant and green is brown and dusty. Living water is the only solution.