After years of following Jesus, I am just now beginning to embrace the seasons of the Christian year, experiencing the life changing lessons contained in the liturgy and the communion of saints. Advent is such beautiful, yet challenging time in life of the Church. It is at this time of year that we are reminded of our need to wake up to the coming of Jesus in our lives.
Along with my dear vespers sisters,* I am using Ruth Haley Barton's Advent Reflections to guide my focus during this season of faith. Her writing and urging, combined with the lectionary Scripture passages have offered the opportunity for self-examination, for refocusing, for shifting my perspective.
We wait in eager expectation of Jesus' birth, his first coming.
Our spirits certainly anticipate, with every-increasing desire, his second coming in glory.
But we ought also to look for the coming of Christ into our daily lives, today.
The difficulty is in this time of liminal space (as described by Richard Rohr) in which we are no longer experiencing that which we are comfortable and oh so familiar; yet neither have we seen the resolution of the waiting, the answer, the direction, the everything-is-turning-out-fine moment. We are in the time of holding our breath, left to wait. We can choose to gasp for air, fight for our lives, flee the fearful expectancy. Or we can seek the Lord Jesus Christ in this uncertainty, looking for his movement, listening to his voice. Because even in the waiting, especially in the waiting, there is Jesus.
Dear One, I am waiting with an ever-increasing desire for your arrival. But this morning I prayed this prayer of confession -
Lord Jesus, As hard as this is to admit, I thank you for this long time of advent in my life. This journey of infertility may continue for many more years, I don't know, but the grace, the blessing has come and is coming in the ways I'm learning to seek you. I imagine where my focus would be right now if I had gotten "my way" and it's not likely to be totally on you. Teach me now how to keep company with Jesus, how to kindle communion with Him, that it may be an inextricable part of me in years to come.I look forward to celebrating Advent with you in the years to come, teaching you about the birth of Jesus, the anxiety of Mary and Joseph, the obedience of the wise men and shepherds. I will walk you through the weeks leading up to the day we celebrate his incarnation, teaching you about the discipline of waiting and leading you to look for Jesus especially in those times when we hold our breath. In my hopeful waiting for you to become a part of my life, I pray I will become more and more connected to Jesus. I desire you deeply, but I want my Christ-seeking to always be at the forefront of pursuits. And I want you to know that about me.
Seeking Him first,
*I join with a small group of women on Wednesday evenings to pray the evening prayer along with our own needs and reflections. One hour of prayer with kindred spirits.