Watch Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe’s message for Advent 2019.
Happy Advent. I hope that this season proves to be one that’s transformational and hopeful for you. But I wonder what would a perfect Advent look like for you? I think we all have this ideal in our head. We’re going to buy the Christmas presents by a certain date. They’re going to be wrapped beautifully. Everyone’s going to come for dinner. It’s going to be a thing of beauty. Uncle So-and-So is not going to say the thing that he always says. Aunt So-and-So is not going to do the things she always does, and we’re all going to sing Kum Ba Yah, and it’ll be beautiful. And then real life happens.
I wonder if we can let go of our need to control Advent long enough to experience it…
I wonder if we can let go of our need to control Advent long enough to experience it, enough to actually delve into what it means to prepare our hearts for God’s love. God loves you regardless. There’s nothing you can do about it. You can’t be prepared enough. You can’t be not prepared enough. God’s love comes to us in those dark hard moments of brokenness. In the dark nights of the soul is when God is with us.
So in this time when there’s so much anxiety and so much need to perform and so much pressure to live up to other people’s expectations and especially our own, what might happen this Advent to help you to be transformed by hopefulness, to experience the love and grace of God in a new way that doesn’t add stress or requirement or what’s supposed to happen? But, in fact, allows you to draw more closely to your inner being, to recognize that Jesus, the baby in the manger, comes to the world at a time of great brokenness.
Then, like now, poverty, racial divisions, economic inequality, and other things divide us and make us separate from one another. We seek to control and manipulate one another. All of that was at play when the baby was born in that cold, dark cave.
God loves you. There’s nothing you can do about it!
This Advent, I pray that you will step off of that pathway that leads to pressure and expectation and perfection that’s perceived but not real. That you might have a moment in this Advent to truly be transformed by a love that you cannot control; a love as foundational to the world as gravity or your own heartbeat. God loves you. There’s nothing you can do about it except receive it, to know it, to feel it, to allow yourself to forgive yourself and forgive one another. To experience the joy of just loving without requirement, of loving with true gift and service to one another.
May this Advent be a time of transformation for you. May it be a new opportunity to be at peace with your God, the God who has come to us, the God who loves you, and the God who empowers you for service. Blessings.