Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Silent Night(s)

It's Christmas Eve- Advent has come to a close! And so now it's time for me to look back at Advent and see if I have prepared well for the coming of this new life in Jesus!

Advent is our 'new year' and so it is natural to look back at the year and make resolutions for the next. It is also the time to prepare for Christmas as well as Christ's second coming.

I must say (if I do say so myself!) I really tried to take advantage of Advent this year, perhaps because this year has been one of somewhat desolation- a lot of Silent Nights between God and I.

The desolation was good because it led me out of one vocation and has brought me into discerning again. And it has helped me to be more patient in waiting for the Life that will come at Christmas and in the next.

Through Advent we hear a lot about people in the Bible who are barren. Most recently there was Hannah who remained barren until the Lord gave her Samuel. Elizabeth was barren until John. Both Samuel and John are essential biblical characters meant to demonstrate Christ's coming from the Root of Jesse, the Tree of David.

I was praying about barrenness and the signifcance of it, though, because we've all experienced it to different degrees- times where we feel we are lacking something. The little 'blue book' I use for Advent reflection mentioned that the signifcance of the barrenness of these women was to show the importance and specialness of the child that then comes.

So this had led me to think about the barrenness in my own life this year. As I mentioned, there has been desolation. And in our women's group we often talk about suffering ( I know this is a weird message the night before Christmas, but I'll get there, I promise!) because it is something we can all relate to on different levels. One thing I've realized is that though there is always someone who is suffering more than we are and we can look to them to give us perspective on our own suffering, but we still need to embrace the suffering (the barrenness)that God gives us specifically. Because I believe it will show us the specialness, the importance of the Life that will come.

Whether or not that 'life' means, an event happening to us here on earth- finally figuring out a vocation, a fulfilling job, a spouse- or perhaps just the realization of how beautiful Heaven will be (because that is when we will only truly be fulfilled). Christmas is a time to look at the barrenness in our lives, but also the hope of life that comes through Christ and the gift that He is.

I hope this all makes sense, as usual!

So this Christmas I am tying in all that I've learned this year (or at least trying!) God puts us through some barrenness, so that we may come to see- either in this life or the next- the specialness of his Gifts of Himself and of others. May God give us Light and Hope this Christmas to embrace both the waiting and the gifts of the here and now!

I must say- since we are all waiting for something (ultimately heaven!) but a new job, or a baby, or a spouse- it is almost easier to live in the waiting period. We grow accustomed to it. It is much harder, for some reason, to embrace the here and now! So this Christmas I am trying to embrace the present, see that I am lacking nothing right now, and if I am barren in anyway, it is with the hope that life will come in God's time. Either here or in heaven.

Merry Christmas everyone!!! May you feel His HOPE and Love this time of year!

Peace in Him,

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