an advent experiment

as i was approaching this holiday season, i realized something strange happening inside of me. somewhere along the way i had become jaded about chirstmas. it could be that decorations have been us since before halloweeen, it could be the never ending emphasis on materialism, it could be that i haven’t gotten over that one present i was hoping for and didn’t get. however it happened, the sad truth is that it has happened. while i agree that there are plenty of things to be jaded about christmas, it is awful when that actually spills into my walk with jesus. the holiday season really isn’t the holiday season, it is the season of advent. the season where we are expectant for the coming messiah. and since jesus hasn’t come back on any christmas i remember, it is easy to become jaded about that too.

well, managing my expectations, being jaded, and hating on christmas ends today. this is the first day week of advent and i am adding a rule to my life to kill the dark hole inside of me. advent is about raising our expectations for the messiah to come. i think it is true that jesus no only love the world, but love me too. a jaded heart can never hear the still and small voice of God or see the subtle ways in which he seems to often move. an expectant heart is continually straining its eyes and ears for the movement of god, and even the slightest movement increases our faith and causes us to strain even more.

i am pretty tired of having such low expectations of jesus. so, this advent i am going to add a rule of life to this season. it is pretty simple, but i am expectant for it to rock my world.

  1. in the morning ask god to show up, and expect that he will.
  2. and in the evening, reflect on the day and the places he did.

a poet in the 1850’s named alfred lord tennyson penned the famous line, “it is better to have loved and lost, then to never have loved at all.” tennyson got that life happens in the living of it, and this advent i want this to be true for me also. i so want god to show up and have at it with me, and i am going to expect that he will. for, i would rather expect that he would show up and wrestle with the awkwardness and disappointment of when it looks differently, then to be numb and jaded to working of the holy spirit and miss out on the coming of jesus!

(an adaptation from an article i wrote for youthworker journal, and can be found here.)