Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion! Put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for the uncircumcised and the unclean shall enter you no more. Shake yourself from the dust, rise up, O captive Jerusalem; loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter Zion!. (Isaiah 52: 1-2)
Wakefulness comes slowly. It is hard to let go of the darkness. It is painful to let the first light in. It stings our eyes and disturbs our comfortable slumber. It would be so much easier to pull back and dive down into the warmth and comfort of what we know. But the light is peeking through the window as it ascends from the distant horizon. It is time to awake. It is time to get up, put on your beautiful garments, and begin to walk.
This season does that. It peeks into our lives that we’ve so carefully constructed and it expects us to awake to the first light. And that light begins to show us what happened while we were sleeping. Oh, maybe not sleeping REALLY. Most of us probably haven’t been in bed these last months. But maybe we’ve forgotten, forgotten that we are called to stay awake, that we are called not to wallow in our own comfort and familiarity, but to move forward toward the horizon and let the light in. But the light is often too much. It shines into the corners where we haven’t really cleaned and points to the colors of the world that have faded from our view. The truth is, we dozed off and instead of moving toward the light, we let the ugliness back in. We opted for preserving our way of life instead of being who God calls us to be. We chose to wall ourselves off from each other rather than listening to where we should go next. We allowed ourselves to be swayed by fear and lies and language that we used to not use. And now waking up is hard.
But while we were sleeping, God did not stop creating newness. Advent reminds us of that. This is the season when we remember what God has done before, the season when we look toward the horizon that holds the unknown, and the season when we awaken to the dawn. This is the season when we start walking through the timelessness that we cannot claim but that claims us. This is the season when we shake off whatever is sticking to us that does not belong. This is the season when we let go of whatever it is we clutch out of fear—fear of losing what we have, fear of each other, fear of ourselves if we dare to allow each other to be who we are called to be. This is the season when we loose whatever it is that holds us back. This is the season when we awake.
On this first day of Advent, WAKE UP…and begin walking toward the dawn. Who knows what God will do next or where God will lead us or who we will be? But we have to wake up first and realize what happened while we were sleeping and realize where we should have been heading.
The day of my spiritual awakening was the day I saw—and knew I saw—all things in God and God in all things. (Mechtild of Magdeburg)
FOR TODAY: What did you miss while you were sleeping?
Welcome to Advent!