Waiting for Forgiveness

If we go to church, the second Sunday of Advent (which was this past Sunday- December 9) finds us lighting another candle, also purple, reminding us of our great need for God’s forgiveness. Tradition says that Santa keeps a naughty and nice list of all the little girls and boys; that list determines whether or not Christmas morning will be cause for celebration or suffering. Even Santa understands that our behavior matters.

But what I really, really love, is that when we regularly spend time getting to know who God is, we do not have to freak out about our stuffed stockings. We understand that part of expecting, waiting and hoping is simply remembering: God forgives, loves and is crazy about his people. Like most moms and dads I know, he wants blessing for his children, not cursing. However, what we discover as parents is that our desires and our capacity to deliver are sometimes not congruent.

I know plenty of parents who curse their children too. I know parents who mock their children. I know parents who do the best they can but that doesn’t mean they have the tools, resources, and experience to actually BE great parents. This is a sad reality.

But that’s the beauty of Advent. It gives us hope. It tells us that just because we ARE sometimes a disappointment to ourselves doesn’t mean we cannot BECOME a person who better reflects our hopes and dreams for being a person who can bear the image of God and show up for others.

None of this happens by magic; it requires that we respond to this God who shepherds, saves, forgives, and restores.

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. Isaiah 9:2, NLT

We don’t need to manufacture sparkly; our work is to expect, wait, and hope. And in that space, I suspect we all find new ways to think, feel and do - ways that are more in keeping with our status as kids of THE king. What about you? Are you ready to look for the light?

Pausing to Prepare

My best Christmas ever was the year I received a jewel-toned green bicycle with a light.  It was a thing of beauty and provided me with freedom to travel hither and yon.  But getting EXACTLY what I wanted wasn’t enough to keep me from feeling the post-Christmas slump.

 

After the holiday havoc is under control at your place, can you find some time to sit still and reckon with what you need (as opposed to what you want)?

 

These next few days can be crucial times of contemplation and preparation for 2018.

People who study these things tell us that contemplation is an essential prerequisite to execution of a desired lifestyle change.

 

Today, may you find time for the pause.

Labor of Love

Christmas Day – a time when families gather together and follow traditions that have been passed down through generations.  This is a mixed bag of sacred and profane; joy and suffering.  Families are complicated.

 

Today, if your life is…..complicated, lonely, disappointing…I encourage you to do something different. 

 

Text people and let them know you are thinking of them.  Find a way to enjoy the day you have even if it doesn’t fit your expectations.  Aren’t with the people you love love love today?  That’s ok, love the ones you’re with!  Don’t be a grumpy pants just because the day isn’t ordered according to your preferences!

 

Practice a sacred spiritual discipline.  Don’t have one?  No worries – there’s an app for that!  You could start a meditation practice. (I am currently obsessing over insight timer.)  You could make plans for creating a sacred space for daily quiet time. 

 

Do something you love.

 

And if all else fails, remind yourself that today is 24 hours long – this too shall pass.

 

Now, why are you still reading this?  Go make the day a reflection of your inspired way of seeing!!!!