An Advent Devotional 2010 From your friends at Organic Faith and The Late Service
Introduction: Advent is the season of preparation. Much of this preparation takes place in our frantic rush to get everything ready for the holidays, but the true spirit of Advent is in our preparation for the coming of Christ into the world. Some of this preparation happens as a community, but some of it is done on our own. On November 28th, there will be no Late Service. Instead, we challenge you to carve out some time in your week to consider the true meaning of the Advent Season. We offer this devotional as a guide for helping you to reflect on what it means to prepare for the light of Christ to enter the darkness of our world.
An Opening Prayer: Gracious God, we so often forget why we’re doing this. We forget that hope is the reason you sent your son to us. We see the nightly new, we read the headlines, and we fear how the world will treat us when we engage it. Then we remember your son. We remember that Jesus came into this world to bring hope to people lie us -- people who feel the world’s hopelessness. Sometimes we feel so far from you that our loneliness absolutely consumes us. Then we remember the Christ child. We remember that you brought us hope. Help us to hold high the light of Christ’s hope, to hold it up as a beacon to bring the world out of darkness. Amen
A Reading from Matthew 24:36-44 36“But
about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, 39and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be 41 left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. 42Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.
A Reflection on Matthew 24: “Anti-Rapture” by Jessica Glaser We often go about our daily lives with little reflection on why we are doing the tasks we do. Many would cite the necessity of these tasks for survival when asked why they do them. Then one day, something comes along and changes everything. The loss of a job. A fire. A flood. A storm. An accident. The death of a loved one. Or maybe a birth. A new career. A move to a new place. A new friend. A new lover. These places often mark seasons in our lives, disruptions that separate who we were from who we are. They can be big or small. All we know is that the world we thought we knew has come to an end. When something comes to an end, we can be so overwhelmed that we forget that something else is beginning. We fail to keep awake for the changes that come, and we fail to fully grasp the ways in which we can live into the newness of our lives. The power of God’s love in the presence of Jesus is that if we are paying attention, if we don’t simply let our lives pass by, He can enter in at any moment, bringing shock or ease with each change we make. We are caught in the already and not yet of the coming kingdom, dying and reborn with every day. This prompts us to live into each moment even as it promises that the worst, the most difficult, the most painful, does not and will not have the final answer. Let us keep awake, for the time has been, is coming, and is right now.
Personal Reflections: During the Advent Season, we challenge you to continue to reflect on this reading from Matthew and the meaning of the Advent Season. Continue to ask yourself, “what difference does it make that Christ comes into the world?” We all reflect in different ways, and when the question is this important it helps to look at it from many different angles. Below you will find three different ways for reflecting on the Advent question. We invite you to take time in the weeks ahead to reflect on the coming of Christ in all of these ways.
1) Prayerful Reflection Father Richard Rohr said, “Prayer is largely just being silent: holding it instead of even talking it through; offering it instead of fixing it by words and ideas; loving it as it is instead of understanding it fully.That may be impractical, but the way of faith is not the way of efficiency. Much is a matter of listening and waiting, and enjoying the expansiveness that comes from such willingness to hold.” Take 10-20 minutes of your day to simply sit in a quite place and be silent. Focus on the question, “What does Christ mean for my life?” Hold this question in your thoughts, say it over and over again, and then just sit and listen to the response that God offers.
2) Creative Reflection In light of what you discovered during your prayerful reflection take time to flesh your new ideas and add depth to them. Get a blank sheet of paper and write a simple statement that summarizes your ideas thus far. From here, fill the entire page with pictures, poems, and ideas as a way continuing to listen to what God is revealing to you through this entire process.
3) Communal Reflection Get together with a group of people over coffee, beer, tea, food, etc. Discuss together your ideas (old and new) about what it means to have God enter the world through Jesus Christ. Some questions for you to use (or not use) in your discussion: What would it mean for Jesus to return today? What about Jesus do you struggle with? How would life be different if Christ didn’t come into the world?