that (we) may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.1 Peter 2:9
This weekend, heading into the fourth week of Advent, I find myself wondering what exactly is all this expectation about? We talk about waiting, and anticipation, and this sense of journey, but a lot of the time we’re not really clear when it comes to the destination.
The first week we talked about hope and light. The second was all peace and grace. The third – the one we are finishing up today – focused on love and mercy. Are we good now when it comes to receiving these gifts? Or are we still waiting? Were they mile markers along the way? Or is there a sense of needing to arrive at Christmas Eve and there they will all be, under the tree/nativity/baby?
Again, and this is especially true considering this fourth week and the words “Joy” and “Promise”, am I – and are we – still viewing all of this through a consumer lens and, like players in a video game picking up tokens as they go from level to level? Is this “most beautiful time of the year” successful (or not) in terms of what we receive?
Or should our focus shift, away from ourselves and toward the generous, liberating, invitational, open-hearted love of God?
Because if this season is about what we get, then we will always be disappointed. And if this season is about what we can give, our souls will know all the peace, hope, love, and joy imaginable.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.1 Peter 2:9-10
We find our identity in Jesus. And if we are making this journey with care, focusing on what a privilege it is to approach the manger in joy and kneel without any sense of expectation other than acceptance, then we will have joined the shepherds in wisdom and the magi in humility.
May it be so – DEREK