"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stay Awake!

I awoke early this morning.  Call me strange, but there's some anticipation I experience when I know a new season is rolling in.  And today is the first Sunday in Advent.  A new candle was to be lit.  And it was.  But somewhere in the pre-dawn, I began to "slip."  Okay, so it's not unusual for me to pull the blanket off the back of the couch, throw it over my feet and slide down within its warmth, and then wake to find myself late for whatever's next.  In fact, after the activities of this past week, this morning would have been such an opportune time.  I even thought about it as I felt my eyes getting droopy. 

And then I remembered this morning's Scripture.  It focused on staying alert.  Keeping awake.  Why?  Because Jesus could be returning at any moment!  Matthew 24:37 says it this way: Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.  Truly, the most basic formulations of the Christian faith include this expectancy.  You can hear it in the communion liturgy: "Christ has died.  Christ is risen.  Christ will come again."  In our Apostle's creed: "... He will come again to judge the living and the dead..."  There's no getting around it; Jesus will come again.  And that's what we do this Advent.  We wait.  We expect.

Advent colors are not the hues we associate with this season of the year.  They are not green and red, but purple, moody and dark.  The music is not major, but minor.  Its theme is not "deck the halls," but "Repent!"  It is a season focused on the coming of Jesus -- not only to Bethlehem some 2000 years ago but futuristically on a white horse.  Yet while we wait and while we anticipate, we also look.  And as we do, we find Him in our midst right now.  We see Him in our spouses, in our children and grandchildren, in our neighbors and bosses, in the girl behind the cash register, in the homeless and the weary and the tired.  We begin to recognize Him in our daily chores, in our time spent with friends, in our pains, and in our sufferings.  In fact, every moment of our lives can become an Advent.  A time when the Lord is near ... present.  But we must stay awake ... and look.

So my prayer for you this first morning is that you would be blessed with a spirit of Advent.  That He would awaken your senses to His presence in the here and now, and that as He does, you would become a sign of love, hope, joy and peace in a world that seems chaotic and out of control and that desperately needs Him.

Blessings to each of you this Advent morning.

Just an ordinary moment....

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