Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross. (Philippians 2: 5-8)
Emptying? No, that’s not Advent. That’s Lent! Advent is about preparing ourselves for the big Coming Day. Advent is about buying presents and putting ornaments on the tree and buying all the stuff that we need at the grocery store to make all those marvelous goodies. We’re TRYING to prepare, but there’s just so much to do. So, this is the season about making our list and checking it twice to make sure we don’t miss anyone or anything. So what in the world does that have to do with emptying?
Well, nothing—it has nothing to do with any of those things. That’s the point. Where did we get the idea that preparing for Christ’s coming was about taking on more stuff? You know with all this buying and all this trimming and all this baking and all this running around, how is Jesus going to fit in? Our Advent preparations are not about filling our lives to the brim; they are about making room for the Christ in our lives. And I’m thinking that probably means we need to do a little end-of-year cleaning.
When Jesus was born, there was no room in the world. The world was just not quite ready. The world was preoccupied with its own problems and its own situation. The world was too busy trying to fill itself with good things and guard against someone taking them away. The world was distracted with its politics and its games and its inability to fix it all and it forgot to make room. So God came into the only emptiness that there was—a young girl’s womb, an open manger, and a displaced couple traveling far from home. It seems that God does not often forcefully wedge the Divine self into places that are full and lit, places that are completed and closed. Otherwise God would have been born in a warm bed with fresh sheets and perhaps a dark chocolate on the pillow. But God instead seems to show up in those hollowed out darkened spaces, the ones that we have sometimes forgotten and sometimes just ignored. Into the emptiness of the world, God comes.
So, this Advent, empty yourself a bit and make room for God to come into your life!
Grace fills empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it, and it is grace itself which makes this void. (Simone Weil)
FOR TODAY: Stop…no more…empty some of that out!
Grace and Peace,