Making Time speak to you of God's goodness. This is at the heart of why we mark any day above another. Though all days might speak to us of all God's works in us and for us (Ps 19), as finite creatures, we need to focus on a few things at a time in order to appreciate them properly.
Because Christmas Eve falls on Sunday this year, Advent begins this coming Sunday. So we still have time to consider what we will do to give this season its true voice.
Advent is celebrated for the four Sundays before Christmas Day. It is a time to look back, remembering how Jesus actually entered Time and Space and flesh before. And it is a time to look forward, longing for His final return. In between, we look for His fresh visitation in our own hearts. (There is an excellent summary of Advent's purpose and celebration at The Voice.)
Christian tradition has set forth a two-year cycle of readings to help Christians to focus on various aspects of Christ's work in the Incarnation. This year's readings can be found at Daily Readings, Advent 2006.
This year they begin with Jesus' parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids (Mt. 25:1-13). Remember that story? Ten bridesmaids all dressed up and ready for to escort the bridal party into the feast. Five brought extra oil for their lamps; five showed up with just what was in their lamps. It was a longer wait than anyone anticipated. The ladies drowsed and the lamps burned out before the midnight cry, "Here He comes!" roused them. Five were ready in a heartbeat, refilling their lamps from the extra they had brought. Five were unprepared, and finding that they couldn't mooch off of others, went on a wild hunt for a late-night oil merchant. Not only did they miss the procession; they missed the whole wedding. Jesus gives us the moral of the story: "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh."
Here is your mission (should you choose to accept it). Meditate on this Scripture and consider these questions:
- Into what dark place in your life do you long to see Christ come with His joy and His healing?
- How will you keep your 'lamp' alight with the Spirit's presence until Christ comes to you with power?
- How will you encourage your family and those around you not to lose heart waiting in the dark? How will you draw others into the drama of waiting on the Lord?
Be creative! Some of your ideas will be purely contemplative. Some should be concrete (Like deciding to read the Advent Scriptures together each day by the gathering light of Advent wreath candles, or learning to sing the parable as the hymn: "Soul, Adorn Thyself with Gladness"). We will all have time on Saturday to incorporate some of these new ideas into our own celebrations on Sunday and in the week following.
See you on Friday!