Nov
30
2007

Advent greetings!

This Sunday begins Advent, the time in the rhythm of the church when we anticipate with joy, wonder and awe the reality that God is with us.

At our pre-Advent “big worship” we talked about the importance of creating space to encounter Christ in the run-up to Christmas. Creating space for God in our lives is a spiritual discipline. I don’t know about you, but I cringe when I hear the word discipline. I’m terrible at building new habits, and I beat myself up if — no, when — I don’t do it perfectly, and end up giving up too soon.

Here’s some good news: I’m learning through my spiritual journey that God nurtures gently. Jesus promised that his yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matthew 11:30). That means that we are freed from the “need” we feel to get our relationship with God “right.”

Here’s more good news: Creating space for God isn’t a law that has to make us busier than we already are. It isn’t yet another thing to do. The amazing truth is that we make room by paying attention to what God is already doing in, around and through us. Our God comes to us all the time, where we are, and invites us to receive his Spirit and align our will with his. And if we don’t accept, God keeps inviting, because his desire is not to burden us with ceaseless striving but to teach us what Matthew 11:29 calls (in The Message) “the unforced rhythms of grace.”

As you journey through Advent this year I invite you to join me in the life-giving discipline of noticing and celebrating what God has done and is doing, right here and now. It doesn’t matter whether you do that by reading more of the Bible, praying around your own Advent wreath, using the rituals in our C@L devotional booklet, spending time in nature or some other practice that seems right to you. The key is noticing what God is up to, and asking for what you need to cooperate with the work he is doing in you. Our God is faithful, and if you attend to your relationship with him he will return the favor.

Just one thing. Be gentle with yourself in the process, as gentle as your Savior is.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” – Matt. 11:28-30 (The Message)

Have a blessed Advent,

Bob

Written by Bob Fisher in: advent,being church,spirituality |

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