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Advent…An Openness to Receive
Previously, during Advent with my sometimes odd sense of humor, I inadvertently conjured up the image of Carly Simon singing “Anticipation…” in the TV commercial for a brand of catsup. The song played as someone turned the bottle of catsup over and waiting and waiting for the slow moving tangy tomato sauce that would eventually join their waiting food. In my wiser understanding of Advent, I would like us to consider removing the word “anticipation” and just settle on “waiting” and “watching” for a new understanding of Christ’s coming into our lives. Anticipation means that we already know what is coming and what it looks and feels like. I don’t think Jesus wants us to think we already know what to expect. Certainly John the Baptist, Elizabeth, Zechariah, Mary, and Joseph didn’t know what to expect. Over time in silence, in prayer, in trust, and in faith; they came to understand. The disciples did the same exact thing!
On to another Advent theme of waiting and resting with God. One of my village colleagues had posted on his Facebook page a simple phrase that caught my attention. It said; “Stop the glorification of busy.” There are lots of postings that cruise across FB that I find trite and somewhat simplistic as opposed to deeper and more realistic understanding of life and relationships. This one however, caught my attention! Often times during Advent and Lent, people (even some of you) say to me; “This must be a very busy time for you.” My normal response is;; “Well no it isn’t because God wants me to slow down and pay attention during these sacred seasons.” It is so counter”culture, but necessary for all of us to understand. I long for and anticipate the slowing down in Advent and Lent. Running a church can be very demanding and time consuming. I am sure you all have your own set of responsibilities that demand your time and energy. When do you slow down? Why don’t you slow down?
Finally, my last thought to share with you; the wonder of napping; yes napping! Now this is not the napping after a wonderful meal or during a lull in football games. This is the kind of nap that is intentional and for the purpose of freeing your mind and heart to rest with God. I have to nap! It helps me empty out repetitive thoughts and feelings so that God has room to enter into my heart and soul. Napping unloads the tensions and preconceived ideas that I have and allows me to listen to God. This is necessary for my preaching preparations as well as my prayer life.
Joseph napped/slept and was able to open up to receive something new from God. Right in our sacred text, we hear that sleeping is a way to “hear” God and be open to receive a new thing.
My prayer during our Advent journey together is for us to all be able to see a new thing both in our personal lives and in our church lives together with God. My second prayer request is that you too try napping for the sake of resting with God and see what happens. I hope you feel refreshed and willing to “see” God in new and amazing ways in your life! God is already with us; Emmanuel!
Your gratefully napping priest, Krista+
“I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre, the lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed with a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness..But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought; so the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”
T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets!