Christmas is a time of candles and light, but it is not automatic. The candles of Christmas wait until someone chooses to light them. What is true for the candles on our tables, hearths, and sanctuaries is true for the light that shines through us.
In the Church, it's called the season of Advent- which means "appearing" (for a 2-minute explanation of Advent, see the video at the end of this post.) Candles have always played an important part in Advent. We light a candle every week in worship, each with a different theme:
Hope + Peace + Joy + Love
It's more than simply repeating the practices of the past, of course. It is also an invitation to the future. At its best, Advent pulls us into what is "yet to be"- God's future. The real choice of lighting candles is not to extend a familiar tradition one more year, but whether to embody God's hope, peace, joy, and love today.
That means the most important "candle" you will light this month...is you.
How do you relight that candle? What will help rekindle your passion and faith? What miracles of the Spirit need to happen so Christ appears in you?
Here Are Two Simple Things You Can Do:
1. Memory Verse
Commit this short sentence to memory. Keep it in front of you - especially when things seem overwhelming, or when you are wondering what to do next.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
2. Watch Where Places Where God is Appearing Today
One of the Five Focusing Questions* is, "Where has God been revealed in the events and interactions of your day?" It's a powerful question that can change the way you live. Think of the characteristics and words associated with God (love, compassion, heal, righteous, just, mercy, joy, creativity, etc.) and see how they show up in the people around you. This is the Spirit at work. If it helps, write these instances in a journal and watch for patterns. Another way is to make a practice of sharing your discoveries with others. The more you see what God is doing right now, the more life becomes an invitation to where God wants to "appear" in your life.
Christmas is a function of the calendar. It is going to happen one way or another. Advent, on the other hand, is a matter of choice. #lightemup!
Advent in 2 Minutes
* The Five Focusing Questions are part of Everyday Spirituality:5x5, a simple and deliberate process for bringing more depth, purpose, and joy into your life and to bless those around you. You can find out more by clicking on the above link. If it seems helpful, "subscribe" to the page (it's free) and you'll get helpful posts Emailed to you three times a week.