As I enjoyed my cereal this morning, I read the following in the daily paper; “The well of Providence is deep. It's the buckets we bring to it that are small.” So wrote a Scottish religious leader, at the turn of the last century. I would like to suggest, it is not about just the size of the bucket, it also depends on the condition of the bucket. If I want the bucket of my soul to be filled up, I must make sure there is no garbage taking up the space, we are inviting our Gracious God to fill up. Our spiritual garbage has been described in the following manner;
Being spiritual beings on a human journey, we are very much aware of the garbage we encounter in the daily living of our lives. We must not allow that garbage to detract from the wonder, and the mystery of who we are and the dignity that is ours, as the result of our God's plan for us. We must continue to allow God to fine tune the lens of our faith so we become more and more enlightened. We must actively invite our God to awaken in us the real depth His love for us, and to the life He has called us to live. Advent is a time we are given to re-orientate ourselves so we will become more available. Advent is an opportunity to stop, yes!! STOP, and reevaluate what is the real in depth meaning of this precious time, and season. One person has written, "Christmas renews our youth by stirring our wonder. The capacity for wonder has been called our most pregnant human faculty, for in it are born our art, science, and religion."
We pray then, for a greater sense of wonder so we can ,again and again, be lost in the awe-full mystery of our God, a God who left His lofty Heavenly Home, and throne, to come and make His dwelling place, our dwelling place. Yes, our God left His power and majesty behind. He deliberately emptied Him. He came in emptiness, so the bucket of His soul could be filled up with the powerlessness of our humanity. He who has all power, came to us in the vulnerability of a little newborn baby. We wonder and wonder and never exhaust the mystery. Each and every Christmas we are led into the wonder-fullness of the Bethlehem event that took place so many years ago, yet happens again and again, ever new, in the Bethlehem of our souls.
So the can this season of Advent be seen as a time of emptying out, rather than of gathering up? How do we empty ourselves, so as to be ready to receive the fullness of Him who came to model in His life, what we are in the hope to imitate in ours. His life, is our life today, so that where we are, He is. His Incarnation continues on in the life you and I live, today. What an awe-full dignity and responsibility has been bestowed on you and I. We are not in this alone. Anything our God asks of us, that which is necessary to accomplish the task, is already within us. We, in fits and spurts, do some of the things necessary for others to believe that the Incarnation has happened. During this time and season, we are more actively being who we have been called to be. This results in what has been described as “The Advent Virus”. Here are the signs that will indicate to you whether you too have been infected by this virus, or may have encountered this wonder-full 'contamination'. That is in the eyes of those who will not see.
Some signs and symptoms of....
The Advent Virus
A loss of interest in judging other people.
An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fear based on past experiences
A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others. A loss of interest in conflict.
A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)
Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation. Frequent attacks of smiling.
Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.
This virus is the exact recipe we need to empty our buckets, as we draw near to our God, so as to receive His blessings. For those who may want to go further, how about that great prayer of St Francis. "Lord make me an instrument of your peace........”.
That well know author, Anonymous, has penned the following, “It is easy to think Christmas, and easy to believe Christmas, but it is hard to act Christmas”.