Dear Ones ~

Advent is here! The Baby is coming! The one who can bring meaning to our lives and teach us how to live fully! Let’s loosen our shackles and jump into this adventure!

The dictionary defines the word “adventure” as “…a bold undertaking, in which hazards are to be encountered, a remarkable occurrence in one’s personal history…a stirring experience.” An Advent adventure is a risky and bold undertaking and, at the same time, a remarkable and stirring experience. Advent invites us to be awake, to expose ourselves to uncertainty about our destination. Advent challenges us to welcome the surprises that unfold, to hear the old story in new ways, to look at traditional symbols through open eyes and hearts. To journey deeply through the season, wrapping our timeworn customs in new expectations.

Advent is here! The Baby is coming! God did not send us a global guru or a pompous monarch. God sent us a baby. In The Drama of Christmas , Morton Kelsey suggests, “The Divine wanted to attract us, not overpower us.” Perhaps God also wanted us to see that the dynamics of preparing and caring for a baby – especially this baby – teaches us about the Christian faith. Preparing to welcome the baby with Mary and Joseph and serving as part of their extended family calls us to new ways of living and loving.

It is so easy to lose Advent in the hustle ‘n’ bustle of the secular Christmas. It is almost as if Advent gets run over by a turkey driving a sleigh. Christmas has become almost universal. However, sometimes it seems to have little to do with Christian faith or the sacred presence of God in our lives. Those who know nearly nothing about Christianity celebrate the season, embracing the trappings but omitting the Source. The birth of the babe in the stable and the mystery of the power of the manger throughout the centuries have been watered down or lost in the secular world’s co-opting of the season. We admit with Isaiah, “We have long been lost like those whom you do not rule, like those not called by your name” (Isa. 63:19). We know a wistful yearning to recover the spirit and simplicity of that stable night long ago and a soulful hungering for a sense of connectedness to God and one another.

One day of Advent spins into another and suddenly Christmas Eve is upon us. We may discover that, despite our good intentions, we never got around to setting out on our Advent adventure – that “bold undertaking,” that “remarkable occurrence,” that “stirring experience.” The hurry of each day did not allow us time for solitude. Perhaps hurrying itself makes us feel important. Or perhaps we are afraid that, in the words of the poet David Whyte, “slowing for a moment, we might open up the emptiness at the center of all form.”

But perhaps this year we will take that risk and turn our backs on the secular hype. Perhaps we will give ourselves a gift – a gift wrapped in anticipation and filled with wonder and rejoicing. Advent is here! The Baby is coming!