Advent 2012 ©

Advent Candles - St Stephen's Anglican Church

A Reflection by D. Raborn on our Loving Shepherd page.

The Year of our Lord 2012 is drawing to a close as Advent is ushered in on 12-2-12, the beginning of our liturgical calendar year.

It seems as if God has a penchant for numbers as we recall the 7 days of Creation; the 77 times of forgiveness; those 40 days and 40 nights; the 3 years of Jesus’ ministry culminating in the 3 days from his death to Resurrection held together in love and peace by the ‘threeness’ of Trinity

God’s love of order in His world is unparalleled even as we continue to observe chaos prevailing in those countries most vulnerable. Chaos hammers out its storms; huddles its masses in disarray; gathers its angry; and, displaces its tired, aged, poor, and less fortunate. And, then we watch as Nature rises up against the privileged renouncing any aspect of partiality. Alas, we surrender to anxiety and confusion.

Where is the order we crave, that sense that “all is right with the world and our comfortable existence is provision enough”? As we package our lives to maintain flawless progression, fear creeps in as events smash and crash communities and countries, priorities and plans. Our order realigns and begs re-evaluation. God has programmed us for adaptation to assignments outside of our ordered spheres. And it is there we see Advent.

We see Advent in the unbridled joy of children receiving shoeboxes packed to the brim delivered by Samaritan’s Purse. One of the boxes did not have as much candy or a special stuffed toy Sunila knew her younger brother, Deepak, would love, something to snuggle with on his bare cot under the drafty, drape less window. So, as quick as lightening, Sunila transfers the fuzzy, cuddly doggy with the floppy ears and big eyes to Deepak’s box. In her hand is a clump of hard candy that goes with the transfer and will probably last throughout the next two months. A smile as wide as the Ganges River floods her face. And it is there we see Advent.

Two precious sisters, Emily and Amy are students of dance and gymnastics. They love it with a passion, especially Emily.  Both love each other and want the other to succeed and never fail to be encouraging. The sisters know their Scripture and when the verse “encourage one another” is read aloud in Sunday school, they both take note! At dance class this past Thanksgiving all the girls are told to line up according to their ages. This is the final dress rehearsal and all costumes have to be complete. Emily has everything, all spotless. Amy has everything, down to the special ribbons and her newest hair clip. However, there is one girl, late as always, disheveled as always, whose mother has apparently forgotten, not cared or not bothered to sign the parental authority paperwork required by the dance troupe since August when the girl moved to the area. With no family in sight, the instructor states that unless these papers can be signed by the time the last break is over the new little girl will be out of the troupe. Tears, heartache, and dilemma. After hugging this distraught dancer, Amy races over to her devoted big sis and whispers into her ear. “Emily, please..we must help! Let’s ask mom to track down her mom and bring in the paperwork. Please!” Without the slightest hesitation, Emily’s answer was “let’s go, Amy”. And since time is a factor, this dedicated duo convinces their mom to answer the call of ‘God’s grace’. A conspiracy of kindness in the making! Recital day for Dance Troupe “A” is not just a powerful day for two beautiful sisters; it is a day of answered dreams for a new girl striving to overcome incredible hardships with poise and purpose. And it is there we see Advent.

Previously owned clothes are left in large metal bins outside a family owned neighborhood grocery store. Regularly, a delivery truck arrives to gather all the items to take to a warehouse for cleaning, sorting, and arranging for dispersion. Inside, food is accepted in several big containers and picked up by a distributor. At any given time, there are projects, programs, and ways to help people in the community. Booths are often set up by the Lions Club, Rotary Club, by the football teams, by the swimming, hockey, ringette, basketball and you-name-it teams. All to promote community. A teenager, most likely a family member of the young working staff, is dying of a peculiar disease with an unknown cause and an unknown cure. A picture, description, and call for help are posted along several checkout aisles. They care. People ‘step up’ and offer aid. Special needs staff bring friendliness and courtesy to a higher level. Hearts are touched and lives are transformed. Time and again concerns of neighbors are brought to the forefront. Each time an aura of kindness filters through the heaviness of the day. And it is there we see Advent.

The Year of our Lord 12-2-12 begins and ends on 12-24-12 with 22 days of prayer, hope, and anticipation for the coming of an event so huge that mere words pale, storms dim, and chaos retreats. God’s ordained mandate maintains that faith, hope, and love are exponentially flourishing. Therefore, we wait in expectation, in reverence and reflection of the First Advent more than 2,000 years ago; and, await the Coming of the Second Advent when Christ will appear in all His Glory. It is then that chaos ceases; fear disappears; tears recede; and, God’s order intervenes to pervade the world He created for us with Him.

‘Adventus’ enables us to bring the Season of Advent into reality through deep and sincere contemplation of our unique and individual Faith. Walking with “one foot in Heaven and one on Earth” allows us those ‘gotcha moments’ of symmetrical affirmation with the One who loves us with unequaled proportions. Unequivocally. Magnanimously. Eternally.

A relationship with our merciful God who humbles Himself to be born in human form in lowly standards during harsh conditions to share the light and love of a way~ not the world’s way~ that comes straight from the heart of Heaven, is available for all. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are what we learn through Advent. Trust and Hope are what we claim.

Waiting upon the Lord~ During the 22 days of Advent 2012 congregations look forward to the birth of baby Jesus in remembrance and hope. Remembrance of the circumstances of His birth and hope for His glorious return~ Jesus enters as an infant surrounded by all of the turmoil, strife, and complexities of a broken world. He teaches us through all manner of good as the Light of this World as shown to Him by His holy Father. We are the beneficiaries of this divine alliance as we yearn, strive, and seek to magnify His holy Name. ‘Adventus’ signals the arrival of this long anticipated wait. And to God be the Glory.

Through prayer and the possibility of new life, we practice waiting on the Lord each day during Advent. Our personal journey with all of its ease, struggles, peaks, and valleys includes the dynamics of listening, waiting, responding, and following as practiced annually throughout this Spiritual season of anticipation and expectation.

Alleluia!

November 25, 2012 dfr Soli Deo Gloria