Sunday, December 03, 2006

Advent: Christ-Within-Us

Advent on some level is about anticipating the historical moment of the birthing of the Christ in Jesus. This moment happened at a given place and time among real people and animals. The Christ in Jesus was born into a distinct situation: among an oppressed Jewish people trying to survive under the thumb of the Roman Empire. Advent and Christmas certainly commemorate this historical moment.

But the liturgical season of Advent, even more than waiting for Christmas, anticipates the coming of the Christ into the world. Some call it the Second-Coming. Some call it the Reign of Christ.

Advent is a season where our waiting for Christ is a kind of lament for a world not-yet-reconciled. Our waiting for Christ in Advent is a vigorously impatient waiting—an aching waiting for the time of No-More-Tears.

Through worship this season we will explore our acknowledgment of our need for Christ, our need for a reconciled world, a reconciled heart to God’s love. At the same time, just as we celebrate that the Christ was born in Jesus two millennia ago, so we celebrate the good news that Christ is active in the world today through the in-breaking of the Spirit.

Our waiting and our longing stem from the moments in our lives when we have felt the presence of Christ-Within-Us. We need to know Christ-Within-Us (or, to put it another way, God-With-Us, Emmanuel) to live out our lives in hope and faithfulness.

When have you known the loving presence of Christ coming to birth within you and among this community? How do we recognize those moments? How do we learn to slow down and quiet down enough that we’re enabled to experience God’s still, small voice? You’re invited to use the quotes and scriptures posted daily to guide your Advent reflections in the coming weeks. You're invited to slowly read through the scripture, then prayerfully reflect on the quote from Eckhart asking God to open your heart to know what God would have you notice.