I sometimes have trouble mustering up much awe and wonder during the Advent and Christmas seasons. My mental energy too often gets consumed by list-making and discount coupons beckoning me to take advantage of “once-a-year” sales. My attention focused elsewhere, I can’t hear the birth-pangs reminding me once again of the coming of Christ.
Christians are called to go into the darkness of Advent and wait – anticipating the coming of God as a small child in a manger. Yet, everything in our wider culture pulls us away from the darkness and into the glittery holiday lights, Santa’s sleigh and brightly wrapped presents beneath the tree.
A blog I read recently on Duke Divinity’s Faith & Leadership website eloquently represents the tension inherent in this busy season of life. Author Allison Backous writes about Advent, “I want, as the early saints of the church professed, to approach this season of Christ’s nativity with reverence and right attention. To behold the incarnation of God with more awe than glitter. More wonder than vague, distracted celebration.”
I, too, want to behold this season with right attention — bowing in awe and wonder at a God that loved us so much that a son – a prophet and teacher infused with divine energy. The Messiah. The Anointed One. The God-made-flesh. The one who wants to be so close that God became human and share in our suffering and joy.
I implore you to covenant with me the rest of this season to keep our eyes and ears open – witnessing the countless ways in which God reveals the divine in the ordinary, the frail, the forgotten.
Where have you seen the incarnated Christ this Advent season? Pass along your stories of incarnation on our blog …
Nicole Havelka, Association Conference Minister of Youth and Young Adult Ministries