Monday, November 30, 2009

Living Emmanuel - Day Two in the Advent of a New Tradition

Living Emmanuel - Day Two in the Advent of a New Tradition

Being WITH.

So, Sunday was the first day of advent and the advent of my new Christmas tradition – choosing daily for the 40 days of advent to be WITH God and to be WITH another.

It’s easy to begin such a venture on a Sunday. There was plenty of time to focus on God – before everyone else rose for church, during the worship service at church and during a long quiet afternoon alone. I felt strong in the Lord and confident that He was present and I was present with Him.

Being WITH others was no challenge either. There were several opportunities to be in the presence of other s, listening, trying to hear them and speaking words of truth and encouragement.

I love using the Celtic Daily Prayer devotional because there are scripture verses and prayers for the morning, noon, evening and bedtime with many reminders to pray for others. By day’s end, I had a list of prayer concerns.

OK, so now it’s Monday. Not so easy. The second day of the new tradition and I consider cheating by counting all the encounters yesterday for today.

But, no. Like every saint before me, my challenge is to love God and live the faith in the midst of the muddle of everyday life.

There is a community of believers in the UK, the Northumbria Community, who believe in the Celtic monastic tradition of ordinary Christians living simple lives before God integrating contemplation and community with a commitment to availability (to God and others) and to vulnerability (to God and others). This idea resonated with me years ago when I first encountered it and I have embraced it.

So, back to Monday. Before I got out of bed, I reached for my devotional, my Bible and my journal. I did read through everything but I was already distracted. I could hear my husband - up already and suffering from sickness. I heard my daughter’s snooze alarm going off and wondered if she would rouse herself soon. I wondered if my son had gotten himself off to classes. I thought about my brother’s job interview today.

I gave up on meditation and addressed the distractions. By the time, I was seated again at 10, I realized I felt like my friend whose children visited for the holidays. They enjoyed their time together but she wasn’t sure they’d really connected. I showed up for God but I didn’t really connect. A reminder to me of why I am not a good morning devotional person. Rather than check my emails, etc, I set about to remedy this with another time with God. Connection reestablished.

So now, I need to look for the opportunity to really be WITH another person today. Crazy that that seems like a Herculean task but Mondays are a day I devote to home and homeschool. I don’t go into my part-time job on Mondays so I like to get my daughter’s week organized. The rest of the week will be full of people so – since my husband is flying off for business tomorrow, I decide it makes the most sense to try to really be there for him today. Once that thought occurs to me I am chagrined that it was not obvious to me earlier.

I am learning to pay attention to God and to life. Sometimes, often, we miss what is right in front of us. That’s what advent preparation is all about. Paying attention so we don’t – like the Pharisees – miss what is right in front of us.

How about you? Are you trying the challenge? Emmanuel. God with us. How are you being WITH God and WITH others during Advent?
Posted by Lori Stanley Roeleveld at 2:05 PM Reactions:

Labels: Advent, adventure, being with, Christmas, devotion, Emmanuel, God with Us

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