Last year Shannon and I attended a one day Advent retreat put on by my friend Kathy in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. As I was cleaning off my desk this morning I ran across the folder from that study (yes, there are areas of my desk that haven’t seen the light of day since before Christmas) and I read through my notes. Much to my surprise, the three areas we talked about as being especially needing attention during Advent are the same three themes that I am dealing with now. I would like to share them with you:
Living in the waiting: staying present while looking forward. Waiting is a posture. Waiting humbles us and teaches us that we are not in control. Waiting is purging us of more than physical trappings; it purges our motives, our affections, our appetites and desires, and our expectations of how we think God should be working in our lives and answering our prayers.
Living with less: while we talk about purging as a physical letting go of stuff, it is also an opportunity to let go of greed (never enough), bitterness (resentment or criticism), jealousy (fear), and violence (intimidation and control) in our lives. We can let go of all of the inside stuff that accumulates the same way we are cleaning out our cupboards and bookcases.
Living differently: knowing that I can choose to respond to hard or challenging situations in a more conscious way. If conflict arises in my significant relationships as a result of preparation stress I can choose to respond with love and understanding instead of fear, annoyance, hurt or anger.
So, I will take these three principles: living in the waiting, living with less, and living differently, and place all of my current goals, preparations, dreams and ambitions in that framework. After all, Jesus doesn’t just come at Christmas. I pray that I can stay present to the comings of Christ and the movements of the Holy Spirit in my every day as I prepare for whatever He has for me out in the world.