I am currently reading a small book by David Adam entitled The Rhythm of Life: Celtic Daily Prayer. David Adam was the Vicar of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne for thirteen years. Today, he is an author, lecturer, and spiritual director. In the preface to this little book he writes:
When we celebrate in worship the mighty acts of God, we are not so much concerned with remembering as with entering into the events; we are emphasizing the eternal rather than the historical. We need to be open to the fact that what we are celebrating, because it is eternal, is here and now. It is now that our Lord comes, it now that he is born among us, it is now that he is seen among us, it is now that the risen Lord appears. In the same way it is now that the Father is creating and re-creating. It is now that the Spirit descends. Our celebrations tune us in to the eternal events, allow us to respond to them and to carry that response into our daily living. Thus the rhythm of prayer resonates throughout the day.
We are not just reading or acting out the great events of God, we are partaking in them. We celebrate Advent with the assurance that our Lord comes, and comes to us here and now. In the same manner we seek to meet the incarnate Lord who dwells among us. The betrayal, rejection, crucifixion and death of our Lord weave their way through our streets, our homes and our lives. We need to be sensitive to the redeeming love and salvation that is now at work in us, as we also need to be aware of the many deaths and resurrections that are experienced by us. I believe in the resurrection of the body for it is an on-going fact. The whole of the liturgical year is a mystery, joyful, sorrowful and glorious, that is at work in us and through us. We need to become more aware of these rhythms of life.
Adam’s insight is like water to my arid and cracked soul. I know what he says is true, but I haven’t heard it in a long time. We don’t read the Christmas story or the story of the Maccabees in order to simply nod our heads in remembrance. We do so in order to enter into them–to partake of them as Adam puts it because they are eternal. These stories are our stories, too.
Who isn’t lost in some kind of anguish and despair in some area of their life in need of light and redemption? Who doesn’t know longing? Who doesn’t crave a new beginning or compassion? Who doesn’t need healing for something? Who doesn’t need peace and reassurance that they are understood and valued? Who doesn’t need some super added to their natural in order to endure another leg of their journey? I do.
I love some of the bustle and busyness of the Christmas season. Walking the malls, tasting the samples of cider and coffee, hearing the seasonal music, the glitter and jewel tones of the holiday colors, the anticipation, and the excitement. It can be fun, but usually in the back of my mind there are anxieties and fears simmering. This is why I find Advent, the waiting for the coming of the One–the Messiah, so magical. If this story, this fairy tale, is truly an eternal truth of which I can partake, then He is coming for me and for those I love, too.
2000 years ago He was born among animals, but in just a few days He will be born in my life–into your life, in our hearts, in our minds, in our bodies. True to the original setting, there is plenty of shit. It’s a mess. Yet here He will be breathing in and out, bringing life. There was wonder and awe. I want to feel that, too, because there is hope. Hope for change, redemption, healing, peace, and joy. I will close with a blessing from David Adam’s little book:
The Wonderful Counsellor guide you,
The Mighty God protect you,
The Everlasting Father be with you,
The Prince of Peace inspire you,
And the blessing of God be upon you, now and evermore.
Let us not be observers of Advent this year. Let us partake of the miracle because the miracle is ours.
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10