Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Advent: Hope: Wendesday

The season of Advent has always been connected to the promise of hope, but it hasn't always been a celebration. If used to be that every year at the Feast of the Epiphany, the day now know as Three Kings Day on the 6th of January, all of the people who converted to Christianity within the previous year were then baptized. The weeks leading up to this day were spent as a time of fasting and penitence, each person asking God to forgive them their sins. The church realized that the Old Testament emphasized a different sentiment. It does not anticipate the coming of the Messiah with remembering personal sins, but it celebrates His arrival as a relief from the darkness, delivering us into the light. The Bible tells us to be joyful as we wait for Christ to arrive and so today that is just what we do. To make it even more of a celebration, the Church decided in the ninth century that the first Sunday of Advent would mark the beginning of the entire Church calendar. This means that every first Sunday of Advent begins our spiritual journey for the whole year to come.

"'If you love me, you will obey what I command, And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him or knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will seem . Because I lives, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you." - John 14: 15-29
Take to really think about these words: Jesus is in the Father and we are in Jesus and He is in us. How incredible is it that we have the Lord God in us and we are in Him! Acts 17: 28 describes this mystery in this way: "For in Him we live and move and have our being."

How often do we really live moment-by-moment in Christ? Imagine how much better our busy days would be if we practiced the presence of Jesus. Each year at Christmastime we say that we are going to slow down, cut back on activities, and enjoy the season, but somehow it never seems to happen. Instead, we need to make a commitment to live daily in Christ. Then, whatever the task, the event, or the circumstances, He will enrich our lives in a ways that are beyond imagination. This ultimate relationship with Christ is above all others; it will guide us on our spiritual journey and last through all eternity.

Dear Christ Jesus,
Help us to daily abide in You. We want to experience this mystery-- living in You and You in us. Help us to pause and practice the presence of the Lord this Christmas. We make this prayer in Your holy name. Amen

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