Saturday, December 10, 2005

Advent: Pregnant with God

In his entry, "Yielding to God", Philip Britts considers the response of Mary when the angel told her that God would give her a child. She said...

Behold the handmaiden of the Lord;
be it unto me according to your word.

This most spiritual moment wasn't marked by Mary's activity (working to bring something to God) but her humbly receiving what God had brought to her. And as every pregnant woman soon realizes, this new life overtook and dominated her own; not in a bad way, not in a way that detracted from her life or robbed her of her identity. But in a way that added to who she was and her purpose in life. The sacrifice she made brought meaning and fullness to her life.

As humans, we tend to want to do things to manufacture some kind of spiritual experience. We will travel to holy places, light candles, offer prayers, wear crosses, read the Bible, etc., etc. - all fine and good- but if we are doing those things in hopes of earning God's favor or bringing his presence into our lives, we've missed the point. Britts says...

It is not that we, as pilgrims, climb to a celestial city,
but that the Christ child is born in the poverty of our hearts.

That is, God purposefully comes to us because there's nothing that we can do that will get us to him. And notice how Jesus came - in the most accessible form possible. There is nothing more approachable than a baby and no where more available than in a stable (He could have been born in a royal courtyard surrounded by guards).

This Advent, put aside your religious chores and simply receive the presence of Jesus. Then, let him fill every part of your heart and mind until he is "birthed" in your life.

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