How Advent Awakens Your Soul
I blinked and the holiday season invaded, this whole world whooshing by. I catch my mind in an ugly state of panic. The new years’ first months, which hold decision deadlines and commitments for which I must prepare, are only three children’s-gift-shopping, two Christmas-parties and a partridge-in-a-pear-tree away.
Then I caught the whisper – “Slow down. So much life and beauty are meant to be yours between now and then.” The season of Advent is an invitation.
Advent simply means “a coming”, and in our Christmas context, the coming of Jesus. For hundreds of years, Jesus-followers have celebrated the memory of his birthcoming, the hope of his second coming and the experience of his daily coming. It’s this third reality that arrests my attention anew – his daily coming.
Advent is pregnant with expectation, hope and anticipation. Anticipation is both a FEELING and a PRACTICE. It’s both the excitement of something about to occur and the preparation we engage that ushers in joy.
When Jesus began his earthly ministry, he walked into his hometown place of worship, unrolled the prophet scroll and read aloud these words:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
With every eye riveted on his face, he made this audacious claim:
“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
As I read these Jesus-words, describing the manifold abundance he offers to the world, I am jolted awake: I suddenly see more. For so long I’ve interpreted them as facts about him and marching orders for me. After all, aren’t I left behind, here on this spinning globe, to keep his 2,000-year-old message alive, to offer glimpses of Hope to a hurting world? Yes, but my heart leaps as I hear his words afresh as my personal advent invitation. Each description of himself is a pledge to me. Every facet of his sparkling goodness he’s wrapped up as a gift for my outstretched hands to receive.
The packages pile, and I stagger under the happy wonder of the enormous toppling tower. All I can do is celebrate with giddy joy as I experience his advent – His daily promise to come overwhelms me.
Each day He comes, proclaiming good news – I am seen, I am loved, I belong.
Each day He comes, offering freedom – from my fear of being alone and the lie that I won’t have what I need.
Each day He comes, offering vision – releasing me from confusion, gifting me his redeemed perspectives of people and circumstances.
Each day He comes, declaring that I stand soaked-to-the-skin in the waterfall of his favor.
A soul fully awake requires slowing down and taking time to anticipate Him. To live this way requires practice, but the practice doesn’t have to be complex, only intentional. So this season, I’m choosing to meditate on the same prophet scroll that Jesus picked to announce his coming. I’m reading the whole of Isaiah 61, and letting the divine words read me. I’m writing them down, declaring them out loud and memorizing them by heart – because I don’t ever want to forget them. As I hear the words, I imagine his face and I reach out to take every gift He’s promising. Each day. Over and over. Until the reality of his advent in my life is the truest thing I know.
About the author:
Sarah Selee lives in Atlanta, GA with her dream chaser husband, a teen and two tweens - all her favorite humans. When she’s not taming laundry or teaching homeschool lessons, Sarah can be found working on her dream of becoming a writer. She hones her craft through weekly blogposts at sarahselee.com