For the next four weeks I hope to post a daily reflection for the Christian season of Advent. I thought of making this a separate blog, but decided to insert these into my usual reflections site. For Christian readers I hope you will find these simple reflections helpful. For non-Christian readers, I hope you enjoy the images, and maybe read a little about what your Christian friends are celebrating in what we call Advent.
Simply put Advent means the arrival, or the coming. It is the time in the Christian year when we pay attention to the promise that Christ will come again. It is a time for personal reflection on being ready for that event. It is also the season when we prepare ourselves to witness again the miracle that the Son of God – the Christ – came to live among us and chose to come not in power and might – but humbly as a helpless infant. Born not into a powerful family – but born in an out-of-the-way place in an unimportant part of the world to a modest family. A birth that would change the world. Not through violence and power, but by love and invitation.
So for the next four weeks, every day, I will start a short reflection on the promise that the Christ will come again. I will use the daily office lectionary from the Anglican Church of Canada. Today’s reading is from Matthew 25:1-13
The final sentence in the reading (verse 13) is a quote from Jesus after having told a parable about bridesmaids. The lesson he says is “Keep awake therefore, for you neither know the day nor the hour”.
Keeping awake – being prepared – is not a passive activity. Self examination is not passive. We are invited into a time of active reflection. I don’t think this is a time to beat ourselves up, but rather to reflect on the gifts that we have received from God. To rejoice in those gifts and reflect on how we are using them for God’s purposes. This stems from a different understanding of gifts. While they are freely showered on us by God, they are given in trust – God has entrusted us with these gifts. Perhaps Advent is a time for us to think about the terms of that Trust. God has overwhelmed me in entrusting these things to me. But I mustn’t be overwhelmed to the point of inaction.
What gifts has God entrusted to you? Reflect on them, Rejoice in them, and use them well.