Tag Archives: active waiting

Spices from Heaven

2 Dec
Photo via Flicker user Mark Skrobola

Photo via Flicker user Mark Skrobola

Invisible spices are falling from heaven all the time. If your eye is not holding its hand out, or your mouth or heart not open, how will you ever get a full taste of something that will cure you of many things? –Rumi

Advent is a time when invisible spices fall from heaven. It is a mistake, then, to simply wait passively for Christ to come. Advent is a season of actively waiting, of intentional preparation. As we open our Advent calendars, hang our stockings, bake our cookies, light our candles, we are asking the Lord to come near. If our eyes hold their hands out, if we keep our mouths and hearts open, we will get a taste of what is to come.

Advent is an invitation to change our outlook and posturing, to get quiet but also get moving. To acknowledge that things are going fine, life is predictable and familiar, but deep down we yearn for God to show up. If our eyes, mouths and hearts are open, we can choose to see things like the wisdom of small children, snow days, unexpected invitations, or a needed connection with a friend as divine intrusion.

We need God to intrude into the ordinary, to become one of us. We didn’t ask for this. We didn’t know we needed it, until he came. And we need him to come again. Please, Lord, intrude again with your divinity. There are so many hurting, mourning, captive, broken-hearted. Jesus is coming to bring comfort and freedom. There is much we can do to prepare the way.

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion—to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. -Ish 61:1-3

We are preparing for Jesus, God with us, to come. Jesus comes as a baby, but we know what is at the end of the line for him. He is coming to die. Christ the king is not about power, but love. How do you make room for more love during Advent? How do you wait actively, to prepare? How do you hold the hand of your eyes open to catch spices from heaven?

Come Lord Jesus. We need you now.

Reflecting the Light

18 Dec
via Flickr user Amanda Slater

via Flickr user Amanda Slater

We are waiting for our Savior. We are waiting for the light.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. –John 1:6-8

Our world needs a little light right now, and it is easy to make the mistake of feeling like we have to produce that light. We look out to see poverty, Ebola, torture, Ferguson, and Gaza, and get overwhelmed and burned out trying to create light. But we can fire ourselves from that unachievable job. God is the light, God can bring light out of darkness. We don’t need to create the light, but we do need to recognize it and multiply it by reflecting it out into the world, into the dark corners of our hearts and our lives.

We are not the light, but are called to bear witness to the light. So this Advent I’m asking myself, “How, in the quiet waiting of Advent, can I prepare myself to reflect the light?” What does active waiting look like?

My newborn is especially attracted to light right now. He stares at the contrast of window blinds and stares contentedly toward any light that is on. He himself emits light through his innocent goodness. I get lost in the deep well of beautiful light coming from his eyes. I watch him be a witness to the light and reflect that light effortlessly every day. How can I do the same light reflection and sharing as naturally as he does?

This year my spouse and I bought a solar lamp, which is supposed to help combat seasonal depression in the dark, dreary winter season. I sit in front of the light box for about 30 minutes every morning while I sip coffee and start my work. I love my light therapy. I look forward to getting out of bed, knowing that coffee and light await me. This Advent, I have taken that time in the morning to pray in front of the light and intentionally feel my body soaking in the rays. I imagine the light welling up inside of me so that I can glow for the rest of the day and share that light with others. When the time is up and I switch the light off, I feel energized and at peace. I’m warm, open, and looking for light in the rest of my day. It is a small spiritual exercise, but it is making a change in my heart.

For me, I’m taking the charge to bear witness to the light this Advent quite literally. I seek out light daily in hopes of being more warm, open and ready to receive and reflect that light that is Christ. How are you preparing to bear witness to the light?

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