As we light the fourth candle on the Advent wreath today, we began to be aware that things are changing. Christmas is only a week away. The world leans toward the light just a bit, if only a bit, trying to get a glimpse, trying to see what is coming. And as the world leans toward the coming of Christ, we are aware that something is not quite right. We are aware that perhaps this is not the way the world is supposed to be after all.
When I was little, I used to love to hang upside down. Things looked different. I saw things that I had not seen before. And then I would turn myself right side up, a little dizzy, perhaps even a little nauseous, but better for the view. God came into this world to show us a different way, to show us that we have somehow, perhaps without really noticing, without really intending it to happen at all, tipped the world upside down. We have elevated wealth; we have allowed hunger; we have awarded the powerful with more power and have not always paid attention to the compassionate and just part of us. We have allowed the world to tip over and then we have set up house on an upside-down world. So, God comes. God comes to right the world. Our inclination is to hold on, to grasp and claw our way back to what we think is the way up. But instead God invites us to just go with it, to turn ourselves right just as the world is turning. Sometimes it is painful. Sometimes we get dizzy and maybe even a little nauseous. After all, change is hard. We might have to give up something that we think is precious to us. And so we hold on. We hold on for dear life. And all the while God is calling us to open our hands that we might receive what God is giving us.
As this final week of Advent begins, we are called to learn to let go. If all was right with the world, then God would have come wealthy and gold-laden with the power of the world in tow. But that’s not the way it happened at all. God instead slipped in when most of us weren’t looking, when most of us were busy making our lives, slippsed into the bowels of the world. God chose to come into poverty and helplessness to show us it means for everything to be right with the world. And God, in God’s infinite wisdom, knows how to show us how to stand and walk and even hang upside down once in awhile on this up-turned world and finally, finally, see the way to go.
Shhhh! You can almost hear them–a faint sound of bells in the distance. And the world seems to be leaning toward them, tipping just a bit. Do not hold on; do not stay behind. Just dance with the music and move toward the Light that is just about to dawn.
I cannot create the light. The best I can do is put myself in the path of its beam. (Annie Dillard)
In this final week of Advent, give yourself the gift of letting go–letting go of all your preconceptions, letting go of all those things that you think your life would not be complete without–and letting God right you with the world.
Grace and Peace,