Once upon a time the thought of Christmas would fill me with anxiety. Don't get me wrong. I love the season. Not as much as I love Easter. Yes, I'm that kind of weirdo, but I love the joy of Christmas, the music, the bright colored lights, and the giving, giving, giving.
I'm sure I don't have to get into how much is lost in the commercialization of the holiday (holy day!). You've all heard that before. But the last few holiday seasons I've made a greater effort to tune into Advent. It actually makes Christmas far more meaningful. See, you can't blaze through Advent in your rush to get presents you don't want to buy for people who don't really need them. Advent an invitation to slow down. Sometimes it urges us to simply stop. You ease yourself down on the dirt floor of your life, and sit quietly by Mary in labor. You can be the midwife to the coming Christ. Or you can wait with her for his birth as the shepherds did, or the animals. You can search the sky for the North Star, or search your life for any signs that his coming is near, then ask yourself what it all means to you.
Oh, what a winter this will be for me, my dear friends. So much is changing, even the rhythm of my intentional community. For the first time, we had our shared meal here at The Sunshine Abbey instead of Third Street House. I have to say, it was wonderful having the Samson's here. I made a pot of great northern beans, and a pan of chicken paprika and rice, and broccoli. An icy rain pelted the city, and this was extra comforting comfort food. We don't have a dining room table right now, so we all sat in the living room--some of us on the floor. Everything was simple. The room was full of love. I felt happier at home than I have in a long time. This was a new rhythm, not particular better or worse than our former rhythm. Just different. Much of my life will be thus. Different. I don't really need to judge it as anything more than that.
Advent, too, is a new rhythm. We've left ordinary time, and now our gaze is toward Bethlehem. We are waiting for the baby to be born. But our eyes our also lifted skyward. We are waiting for the King to come in the clouds in glory. And oh, my friends, we should also be looking within, waiting for Christ to be born anew in our hearts.
What are you waiting for? What needs a savior in your life today? I ask myself these kinds of questions everyday. Some of my musings go on Facebook and Twitter as I share Advent with whosoever will come. But some of the questions are asked in God's presence alone, in the silence of my heart. And the answers belong to him, as many other things in my life should belong only to him.
Yet, here you are, and here I am with you. So, I invite you to take these next few weeks to share in Advent with me. Sit with me at Jesus' feet. We can all be Mary of Bethany, rather than Martha. We can all do the one needful thing: wait.
"Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her." Lk 10:41-42.
In the tenderness of Jesus, the coming Christ child,