We’re a little more than halfway through Advent and ready to start the ten-day countdown to Christmas.
Does that make you a bit edgy?
It should with good reason. Not only does this mean you’ve only got ten days to finish up your Christmas shopping, but – more importantly – it means that this marvelous season of Advent transformation and preparedness has only ten day left as well.
So, how’s your Advent working out for you?
At the start of the season, I wrote about Five Things to Include in Your Advent Toolbox (Bible, Advent wreath, Advent crib, Advent music, Advent space) and then about How to Start the New (Church) Year Right (prayer, planning, and persistence.
Before I ask you how you’ve done, I should fess up to how I’ve done.
I do have my five tools in my Advent toolbox and have been making good use of all of them. Except for one. Scripture. My use of Scripture this Advent has been spotty, and I’m sad about that. I suppose the upside is that I actually did try. I tried at prayer, planning, and persistence, too. Better than other years, not as good as some. Typical of me, I’d forged the greatest of plans and took off with them like a shot only to find I had to adjust them about three days in! Sigh.
I think the only thing I’ve done fairly well so far this Advent is maintaining an attitude of striving and resolve. And therein lies the “jewel” that I discovered this Advent.
Realizing I had to adjust my plans and even then struggled for success made me honestly feel my weakness, which made me realize even more how desperately I need a Savior, which made me yearn even more for the coming of that Magnificent Child on Christmas night!
That’s what I’ve come to absolutely love about this Advent. Even though it’s been one of the lesser Advents in terms of strivings done and resolutions kept, it’s been one of the greater Advents in terms of fruitfulness. In my weakness, in my failure, I’ve found a deeper place in my heart for Jesus that wasn’t apparent to me before. More correctly, he has found a deeper place in my heart for himself.
No amount of Advent success could have wrought that kind of revelation!
There’s a quote from St. Therese of Lisieux that I’ve been relying on heavily this Advent.
It is very consoling to think that Jesus, the Strong God, knew our weaknesses.
Indeed, he did. Remember that Jesus is God, and God knows everything from and for all Eternity. That means he knew our weaknesses long before he came to earth, long before he was conceived in Mary’s womb, long before he was jostled along on that bumpy donkey ride from Nazareth to Bethlehem, long before he was born in a tiny cave and laid in a manger. He saw our weaknesses from the Crib.
And still he loves us beyond compare in all of our weaknesses. There is no love like the love of the Christ Child. Our Lord knows your struggles, and he loves you just the same. In fact, you could say that he loves you because of your struggles.
No matter how well or how poorly you’ve kept Advent this year, there’s still time to pick up the toolbox, adapt, recommit, resolve and persist. If the plans you initially made aren’t feasible, then make new ones. If you chose the wrong tools, pick some new ones – or just one new one. Need an attitude adjustment? Go ahead and make it. There’s still time. But, remember one thing: Jesus knows your weaknesses. What’s he’s yearning for is your love.