Advent

This year I'm caught in the idea of Advent; the anticipation and the beautiful season of waiting to celebrate the God who came to Rescue us from our brokenness. Growing up my family had always done an Advent calendar, lovingly made for us by my Aunt Holly. But, since having my own kids, it hasn't been a very intentional tradition.

I don't know if it's because of the brokenness of my heart right now, or just a renewed awe for the gift that is given in Jesus, but something is stirring me to pay close attention to the time leading up to Christmas. So, I am.

The kids and I are doing an awesome Advent calendar and following along on She Reads Truth (check it out, if you haven't already). Our church is also doing a series on The Advent Conspiracy. Which means, I'm thinking about Advent often.

This morning, as I was preparing for my Holy Yoga class, my mind kept straying to the last scene in The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis. Have you read it?

What happens is this: sides are being chosen. Some are fighting for Aslan. Some are fighting for destruction. But all are fighting. The dwarves make a declaration: "The dwarves are for the dwarves!". So, they fight for themselves, striking down people on both sides. As the fighting escalates and Narnia is frozen by Father Time, those who have survived find themselves in an old stable. The ones who fought for Aslan are surprised to see that it is not, in fact, an old stable, but the true Narnia. It is a wide open land. It is new. It is light. The dwarves, however, are found grumbling and complaining - insisting that they are stuck in a musty old barn. They are angry and isolated, stewing in their own choice of darkness. And that is where they spend eternity.

Now read this from John, the Disciple Jesus Loved.

"The One that God sent speaks God's words. And don't think he rations out the Spirit in bits and pieces. The Father loves the Son extravagantly. He turned everything over to him so he could give it away - a lavish distribution of gifts.  That is why whoever accepts and trusts the Son gets in on everything, life complete and forever! And that is also why the person who avoids and distrusts the Son is in the dark and doesn't see life. All he experiences of God is darkness, and an angry darkness at that."
{John 3 MSG}

I've spent a good portion of my life sitting in the dank, oppressive darkness of an old barn. I've grumbled, I've raged, I've hungered and found no satisfaction. I've isolated. And isn't isolation always an indication that we have made a choice to disconnect from truth and reality in order to create our own version of truth and reality? Isn't isolation the product of declaring, "I'm for me!"? Isn't isolation the flat out rejection of holding to the kind of truth that resonates at a holy, transforming frequency? Yes. Isolation is all of those things. Isolation turns us into dwarves in a barn. And that is where we sit, forgetting that Jesus, the Lion of Judah, has brought us into a dimly lit, broken down place of rescue. He's brought us here... and our perspective changes everything.

This Advent season I am really aware of The Gift. I am physically present to the force of Light, the Creator and his ridiculous way of transforming even the darkest places in my life. Does it mean I no longer suffer? Hell no. My circumstances are true. My pain and exhaustion are real. My frustration and woundedness are undeniable. But I am in the light.

It would be less deep work to claim my old stool in the dark. It would feed my old, broken sense of self preservation to plop my ass down on a hay bale and make a list of how wronged I am. And I would spend my eternity there. I would live the rest of my life depressed, anxious and oblivious to the expansive, beautiful new land that requires only open eyes to see.

No thank you. No more. Because I've been given the gift of an abundant, full life. I've been led here, not to ruin me, but to rescue me.

Advent, friends. The time of expectation, of waiting, of looking ahead. 

*December 2012