It is officially the Advent season, December 1 and the countdown to Christmas begins. Like lent, Advent is a penitential season in addition to a time for hope, joy, peace and love. We prepare to enter into our need for a savior. But first, I must feel that I need a savior.
I must confess that I struggle with this at times. Much of my life I bought into the culture’s prevailing view that I am self-made, that I invent and define my reality. Over time, the richness of Twelve Step recovery has softened my view and had a profound impact on my spiritual journey. Step one in the program is hitting bottom, recognizing we are powerless over something or someone and acknowledging that our life has become unmanageable. Only then, can I be open to the possibility of believing that a Power greater than myself can restore me to sanity. It opens the door to the need for a savior. Sometimes, I try and force my solutions on other people. This is when I need to take a step back, go to step one, realize my powerlessness and ask my savior for help. Life works better this way. I believe we all need a savior but when my ego says, “I’m fine,” I am not ready for Christmas and the coming of a savior.
O Come O Come Emanuel is the story about God’s coming as the ransom to free the captive Israel. For centuries, the prophets had foretold the coming of a messiah, the God of Israel who would come to earth, take flesh upon Him, and become their Savior and Redeemer. Listen and prepare your heart.
During Advent, we hear a lot from Isaiah who wrote about the coming of God and role sin and disobedience plays in severing this foundational relationship. By asking myself a few questions, I can assess where I am:
Do I find myself wandering off the path I know I should be walking? The path that allows me to be the best version of myself and the person God wants me to be? Do I have the feeling I have drifted from my North Star or there is a problem in my life I do not know how to solve? This is when I need a savior. Oh Lord I pray, why do you let me wander from your ways?
Have I lost my sense of wonder and awe of God’s goodness? Has my heart become hard and brittle, not hearing His voice? I want a soft and supple heart ready to be molded into who He wants me to be. Oh Lord I pray, why do you let me harden my heart to fear you not? I need your grace.
Am I resistant to who God wants me to be and feel alienated from His truth? I end up in a bad state when I am not sensitive to the fact that things are not right between us. Oh Lord I pray, let me feel your passion to set things right.
I have called you by name. You are mine.Focus on His truth, Isaiah 43:1
Can you identify with any of these questions? If so, do you feel withered and lifeless? Advent is a time of waiting and preparing our heart for the hope of Christ.
O Come, O Come Emanuel.