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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Thursday, December 12, 2013

With the Advent of......

Life had a way of being lived, then with the advent of Christ in my life……everything changed. Encountering the grace of God is life changing. Advent can occur everyday as we allow Christ to intersect our lives, to be vulnerable to grace. We can intentionally live by the “Advent Creed”; expecting, anticipating, hoping and discovering as we align our lives with Christ. My experience is that I/we may take for granted our life in Christ.  What does this mean? To me, it is assuming that things are not going to change, that we can relax unawares in an illusive relationship with Christ or the church just leaving things the way they are, because it is probably the easiest option and does not disrupt our busy lives. We think all is well.

I propose “we do not know what we don’t know”. Abiding in Christ, taking upon us the name of Christ, is very much about continual change. That is why we celebrate, and participate in a season of Advent. Advent points to and calls us to the “new” in Christ. Often in accepting the status quo in our lives, taking things for granted, we rest upon our self-sufficiencies even when doing what we consider ministry. We rely upon our personal self-reliance, independence, our expertise, skill-sets and innate abilities with experienced heightened ego in moments of excellence. Our personal best thinking, best competencies, best anything may actually obscure, detour or diminish the “new” that the Spirit is seeking to do through me/us. “We do not know what we don’t know” We do not understand. Living within the Advent Creed we become aware that abiding in Christ is a daily advent awareness of seeing through new eyes, new sensitivities, discerning afresh the day or moment ahead. Our new Words of Counsel express that “opportunities abound in your daily life if you choose to see them” Advent living prepares the way for us to “see,” to have the veil lifted from our minds, to understand our moments in our day are not about me/us, but about those opportunities that abound about me/us that would not otherwise be seen. My personal best can become better! Outcomes of my best made better are more relevant, more personal, more compassionate, more caring, more real than in trusting in myself.

The experience of personal advent is one of vulnerability, becoming more receptive, dwelling in prayer, pondering in thought, learning and discerning in expectant hope. Today we use the phrase, “spiritual formation”. The reality of this experience is one of becoming absolutely aware of what I did not know, of my illusions of ministerial independence, of the richness of grace. Only then can I begin to ascertain the abundance of opportunities that the Spirit guides and enables. I have posed this question before in a blog. Is this the stuff of mystics, itself an illusion? I have tried both ways of living. My testimony is that the vulnerable, emptying, listening advent way of life is real. The best does become better, more positive, more inclusive, more personal, but there is also a knowing assurance beyond hope that the expected Spirit will abide, empower and enlighten. The other side of the coin is that life also becomes more disruptive and unexpected in what is encountered when advent moments emerge. There is also a yearning for more.

I call you to believe in the historical and personal Advent of Christ. Seek him out as Wise Men of Old……

Submitted by Kerry    

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