Thursday, December 8, 2016

Advent Reflections - December 8


“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.”

 Hebrews 1:1-2


Why is it that we so often feel compelled to live our lives in the past? Why do we so frequently attempt to build our current days based on the "perfection" of yesterday? You’ve heard the expressions: “Those were the good ‘ol days!”  “Remember when…?”  “Things are just not like they used to be.” "I wish I could go back..." 

I am especially reminded of this during the Christmas season because we tend to focus so much on tradition. As soon as the decorations come out, the music starts playing and our favorite TV shows come on, we are transported to another place and time. Many of us think back to Christmases that we experienced when were younger, and long for those nostalgic feelings that captured us then. In an effort to recreate memories of yesterday, we strive to re-create a Christmas that mimics those of our past. But we usually end up disappointed and a little frustrated. Why can’t things just be like they used to be?

The problem with nostalgia is that it manipulates our focus to rest on something that no longer exists. The past remains only in our memories, leaving us unable to relive the days that have passed. The only thing in which we have control of is our present, and when you think about it, we really have no control over that either. In reality, all we have is the moment. This moment that we share today, celebrating Advent together. The past is no longer. Tomorrow will be. Today is what it is.

As we make our way through Advent, as the anticipation builds, and as we celebrate the coming of Christ, let us remember to rest in the present. God once spoke to the people of Israel through the prophets of old, and revealed his soon coming. For a time God was silent, and God's people longed with nostalgia the days when the Lord spoke. But as time passed, God spoke again. Christ came into the world. No more longing. No more looking back. Emmanuel, God with us!        


Lord, in the quiet of this moment, help us to keep ourselves in the all encompassing peace of your presence. Help us to live our lives day to day in great anticipation of the blessings that you provide moment to moment. Let us look on the past with joyful memories, look to the future with hope and live today in your love, grace and peace.