Saturday, December 7, 2013



Come all ye fickle, weary and worn.
O come let us adore him like the O damn fools
we are hanging on if by a thread to the tale
of a girl and the god and the baby they sang
into the whole dear world.
O come all ye citizens of this turning scorn.
O come let us sing though our eyes are tired
of looking for his salvation. Let us raise our
voices of that happy morn and groan him
into the world one more time.
John Blase posted at The Beautiful Due.

In this season of hoping and waiting, I light the Advent candles each morning.

One each week as we get closer and closer to the incarnation.  At a recent Advent retreat, lead by Christine Sine, we talked about the three comings of Jesus.  The first is in the flesh as a baby-this coming attracts our hearts but doesn't demand much of our soul.  The second is the coming presence of God in the resurrection-the question is how are we aware of the presence of God and what part do we want.  The third is the longing for the kingdom of God in the Second Coming- what are we longing for and how do our priorities of time, talent, and resources reflect that.
Our lives are to be a balance and we set priorities of 

Feasting and fasting

Work and rest

Solitude and Community

So our bare tree

becomes this tree

as we celebrate the coming of Jesus.

During this half day retreat, we also talked about Practices of Restoration and Practices of Transformation.  Our practices of restoration remind us of who we are in our faith community and identity- going to church or Mass, prayer, communion, Scripture reading.  At Christmas, the symbols of the tree, the Advent wreath, Nativity sets all remind us of of who we are.  Most practices of Restoration are highly structured and provide a certain measure of order and predictability. 
Practices of transformation are more risky.  They are meant to transform us at our core and to give us a sense of God's eternal kingdom.  These practices have a high degree of creativity and unpredictability.  We have to choose them for do we really want to be transformed?  The practice may be a practice of silence, going deeper to hear the voice of God.  It may be working on a project or with a person who is unfamiliar or uncomfortable.  Whatever it is, it is designed to change us, to make us new and different.

Recently a little sparrow came and looked inside our glass sliding door.

It had snowed the day before and was very, very cold.  I put sunflowers on the patio and he hopped up and looked inside for quite a while.  Yet bringing him inside would mean certain stress and maybe even death.  Birds are designed to be outside in the cold-they fluff up their feathers and sit close together.  What seemed like a safe place for him to be (inside and warm) was the most dangerous for his life.  
That is what a practice of transformation does for us- it puts us where we are meant to be.

Our little foster son is with his family now.  There is such a sense of peace, knowing that he is safe and whole and loved.  We have been in this waiting season for so long now.  What a joy that his journey to his family is finished...and also just beginning.

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