Thanks to David Blackmon for writing this post about the Advent Conspiracy’s theme of Worship Fully.
“What day is it? It’s hump day,” your personal camel bellows. Another week is almost done. All of the task lists are nearly complete and emails dwindle. School assignments linger within reach of another A or B. Sports or dance demand a couple of days of practice, one more game, a final performance. Life leans towards an excuse to do a little less before your high demand for more propels you up Monday’s hill again.
I think that we bring some of this same chaotic rhythm to Advent. A busy twelve days into the season (Yes…Friday, December 13) can run the risk of feeling more like a Wednesday. Our holiday cheer can fall victim to “too much left to do” because we choose to do too much at the start. Sad to think we might be glad Christmas is almost over before it even arrives.
So, here’s a challenge. Begin your first 12 days of the season committed to worshipping fully. Sing and pray. Read the stories and light candles. Gather with friends on the way to Bethlehem whispering of the promise of Emmanuel. Run a slower race the first days of December that you might receive a gift that is ever new and always worth the wait.
But then, that may be the key word, wait! Do not dive into GO, do not SPEND $100 or $1000 on the real or your own personal Black Friday. Wait. Ease your pace. Let the One who is always coming after us catch up! Mary Oliver writes,
I’d been to the river before, a few times.
Don’t blame the river that nothing happened quickly.
You don’t hear such voices in an hour or a day.
You don’t hear them at all if selfhood has stuffed your ears.
And it’s difficult to hear anything anyway, through
All the traffic, and ambition.
It will take some holy time to hear good news. Even our striving for hope, love, joy and peace may have to let up a little. This is not our miracle to make. Better to let brooks flowing out of God’s own heart swell into floods of wonder carrying us far past what we might have imagined was enough. Advent worship invites us into this possibility, that there is nothing we might offer but hushed lives resting in tender currents of mercy. In that offering of an hour or a day, we are changed into a chorus, like shepherds, glorifying and praising God for all that they, that we, have seen and heard.
David Blackmon is the Coordinating Pastor at First Baptist Church of Asheville.