Monday, December 13, 2010

Rejoice! Advent 2010

It's the third week of Advent. Half of this holy season is gone. The cute living Christmas tree that my son Kamau calls our "Christmas bush" has but a single red bird and gold bauble on it. My Advent candles are unlit, and wreath unmade. It looks like Advent has been an epic fail, but looks deceive.

The truth is, tonight, in the quiet of my bedroom, while a wicked sinus infection and cold has me bedridden,I'm aware of my longing for Christ more than ever. Thy Kingdom come resounds in y soul. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

I read a wonderful, honest prayer about this third week of advent. I'll share it here for your benefit:

Dear Jesus,

It's halfway through Advent and I'm not sure what happened. I really wanted to make this a reflective and calm season, preparing for your birth and pondering how you came into this world in such a stunningly humble way. But it's so busy and I'm distracted and sometimes even short-tempered with those I love the most. Where are you in THAT?

I am discouraged and wish I could start over. But as I sit here in the rare moment of silence, I contemplate your birth. In a bed of straw, with the smell of manure everywhere. It's a mess in that stable ... and come to think of it, my life is a little messy, too. I suddenly see that it is not just into the mess of the stable but into my mess that you enter the world. You came into a humble place and that humility is often where I live my life - feeling guilty or distracted and wishing I were a better person. But if I stop thinking of myself and focus on you, I realize that there you are, waiting to love me, even though I have so many unfulfilled good intentions about prayer, so many desires of how to change this fleeting Advent season.

I can begin Advent today and make this season deeper by making room in my heart for you. I can take just a moment before I get out of bed in the morning and feel the empty place in my life I so often fill with my busy-ness. It is there I need you the most. Come, Lord Jesus. Come into that dark and lonely spot in my heart. You know what my needs are more than I do. Let me feel your love. If I only carry that thought with me each day, it will prepare me for Christmas.

Thank you, Jesus. It's not too late. You are waiting to enter my life today, where ever I let you in. Help me to open my heart in these remaining days.

That was a good prayer, wasn't it? And it captures so much of our very human experience. Here we are with our messes, many of our own making. We are sometimes sick, frail, or weak. We get often too busy to be present to each other, but this season offers us the chance to see how God loved us enough to be present. God cloaked his divinity in flesh and is with us. In this third week of Advent we can cast of our penitential, albeit royal purple, and put on the rosy glow of faith. This is the week in which we light our inner candle, the pink one! And we simply rejoice! The Lord is near.

I slept mist of the day, and woke up thinking about the electric bill. I worried. How in the world will I pay it all winter without Ken? And then I remembered the incarnation. If God went through the trouble of being human to save me, surely he can handle my utility bill, and everything else that concerns me, and you too, lovies. So rejoice. All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well. The Lord is oh so near, and even as we wait for him, he's already here.



John Wilson said...

Hey Claudia, my name is John. I read a lot of blogs on religion and prayer and I've ended up at your blog once or twice before. I'd love to hear your thoughts about this prayer exchange website I thought it was an interesting idea and would be curious to hear what you (or other christians) think about it

I'll check back here in the next day or two, thanks & God bless
John W.

GailNHB said...

Great prayer, indeed. I spent some time today talking about the busyness of the season but how often it feels emptied of Jesus, the one we are supposed to celebrate. And then he shows up, over and over, in small ways, in quiet moments, when we least expect him. There he is. While we nap or sleep or eat - and even when we worry about paying the bills, as we all do, he is with us. May we all understand that in deeper ways this year. Starting tonight. Starting right now.

Stay warm, my friend. And cuddle in close to your baby Jesus, the God-man in the body of a tiny baby. He is right there with you.