Amid all the fullness and festivity of this peak cultural and religious holiday season, I invite you to take a brief moment each day to rest and read through these brief daily reflections. I wrote the reflections when I lived in the rolling farmland of Iowa. I wrote them for my own journey through Advent, and also shared them with various members and friends at Westminster Presbyterian Church in the Cedar Valley, where I served as a pastor. The liturgical readings incorporated into this daily reader were taken from Cycle A.
I now send these reflections out more widely in book form with the hope that something of my Advent journey might also be helpful to you, perhaps even connecting the inner story of Christmas in a deeper way this year for your continued flourishing in Christ. The book is available on Amazon.com or you may order one at your local bookstore.
The theme of this Advent journey is My Yes Is Yours. I chose that title, in part, because I was inspired by Mary’s response to the Angel’s visitation (Luke 1.38). There, the Angel invited Mary (and through her, us) to a deeper experience of God as a literal vessel for the birthing of Christ into the world. Her response, now so famous, was something like, “Yes, let it me in me as you say.”
On a deeper level, even Mary’s Yes was grounded in God’s grace, drawing her into the energy of acceptance versus resistance. Like Mary, without this grace acting in our lives, none of our Yes’s would endure or come to their fruition. In this way, our Yes’s are really God’s. Not only are they inspired by God’s grace, they are also offered to God.
Thus, we can authentically say in the depth of prayerful intercession or silent contemplation, “My God, My God, My Yes is Yours.” Truly, giving our Yes to God is just another way of summing up the heart of the Christian pattern of life revealed by Jesus near the end of his beautiful yet brief life: not my will, but thy will be done.
Yes. Three letters. One little word with infinite potential.
Read the reflections.
Ponder and pray about the ideas.
Perhaps share them with others.
Open each day’s reflection as a personal gift. Throughout a lifetime, our journey into God is a journey into Yes – learning and cultivating a disposition of feeling a Yes to life. Paradoxically, we may often discover the personal power of Yes as we feel into the powerlessness of all the times we have encountered No’s. While Advent is a season for Yes, it’s not always easy. There are many No’s that we confront each day.
No to God.
No to health.
No to love.
No to life.
No to others.
No to healing.
No to abundance.
No to giving.
It seems in our world we are surrounded by and perhaps even shaped by many No’s. That is all the more reason to anticipate and welcome the quickening light that awakens sleepers from the state of resistance so energized around the word “No.” Advent is a season to recognize that for every No we have received in life, we may also declare and participate in that No’s transformation into a Yes – for our ultimate good and ongoing growth. And so we declare:
Yes to God.
Yes to being you.
Yes to others, especially those we live and work with.
Yes to the past, present and future.
Yes to flourishing.
Yes to surrender.
Yes to hope.
Yes to faith.
Yes to love.
Yes to giving.
Yes to receiving.
Yes even to our life difficulties.
Yes – whether simply, quietly or loudly – just yes.
Learning how to say Yes to whatever is occurring in our life without needing to change or resist anything is the art of grace – a grace that also teaches us the skills of hope, faith and love; skills, along with grace, that we will need; skills we will also acquire more completely as we journey through the fullness of gifts this Advent season holds in store for us.
Only Love. Only Christ.
Peter Traben Haas
All Saints Eve, 2014
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