DECEMBER 2018: A GATHERING OF WOMEN
By Tanya Lopez, Disciples Women Coordinating Minister
The Case for Advent
It’s here! December has at long last arrived and with it the joy, the cheer, the excitement and the thrills! Family time, cookie baking, shopping and gift wrapping, Christmas cantatas, and Christmas plays, holiday parties, white elephant gift exchanges, potlocks and the list goes on and on and on. There are Christmas parades and sing-alongs, holiday pictures to plan and all the while we must also prepare our minds, our hearts and our spirits for advent. The waiting and the anticipation of the Christ child! The one who has come and who physically embodies divine love for all the world! But we fill the time of waiting and anticipation with a flurry of activities. Why do we rush? We work ourselves into a stressed state and often miss the gift that advent brings us. A time to sit, to reflect and to wait.
Not many of us like waiting, I certainly do not. Not one bit. It triggers my anxiety as I suspect it triggers a myriad of feelings for others. When we wait, we do not know. There is a sense of control that we must surrender. Whether it is the results of an exam in school that could determine our passing or failing of a required course, a medical exam that might hold the key to proper treatment that will restore us to health, or something far simpler such as waiting in line for our cup of coffee. There is a surrendering that we must wrestle with. We are forced to trust that our waiting will lead to positive news, a breakthrough towards wholeness in a time in which we’ve struggling, or that nice strong sip of coffee that will give us the energy needed to keep going.
But the truth of it is that we don’t not know what the waiting will bring. And we do not always get the news we hope for. It is in this surrendering that we struggle and it is why we fill our time and weeks with activities. Things that will keep us busy during a time in which we are gifted a time to surrender, to wait, to anticipate alongside the community of believers across the globe the arrival of that someone who would change the world forever.
Surrendering is such a difficult thing to do because it is counter cultural. From the time are we old enough to attend school we are taught that we are the masters of our own destinies. We have the control and we can decide what happens to us and how we use our time. Very seldom does this connect well with the ideas and the principles we learn from Jesus. To not only worry about how our own actions would affect our lives but instead how that would impact the lives of our communities, of our families and those that are connected to us. Surrendering the power and control that brings us the things we want and instead embracing the trust and the connections that can bring goodness, wholeness and restoration to the many. One must be willing to surrender and let go of what the dominant culture teaches us to experience this kind of intimate connection that Jesus came to model for us all.
And so, I personally have decided to make the case for Advent this holiday season. I have decided to surrender over my insecurities of what it might mean if I don’t fill my calendar and instead take the time to turn inwards to reflect on what this year has taught me. To accept that even when there are challenges and times in which there has been a lot of evil and pain in the world, there has always been goodness. There have been people advocating for justice, there are people traveling to meet the migrants to see how they can help meet their immediate needs while their long-term safety is still on the line, there are people cooking and feeding and clothing our houseless neighbors. Giving them a home and a family even if they do not have a physical residence. In advent, we wait, we meditate and we reflect often in the dark…so that as the weeks draw closer we can see how that child broke through the darkness and how he continues to break through to shine light, love, peace and hope into the hearts and lives of all those who have come to know him.
This holiday season, as you prepare for the busyness and the activities and the times filled with those you love most, I urge you to also make the case for advent in your own life. Make the case for that surrendering that just might gift you a deeper understanding and clarified vision for your ministry, your family, your next steps in your personal goals. Advent is such a special time of the year and there is a deep wisdom that it offers us if we slow down and listen to God whispering to us to wait.. wait.. to just make the space to wait.. Though hard there is a radiant light that we know awaits us and this makes the waiting something worth taking the time to do.
My prayer for each of you is that you find the joy, the peace and comfort you need this advent season. May your time of waiting and reflecting in the dark lead you to the light and hope that has been promised for you and for the whole world. Amen.
Pastor Tanya Lopez
Disciples Women Coordinating Minister
115 E. Wilshire Avenue, Fullerton, CA 92832