Advent

Are you struggling to fit God in this Christmas?

Jocelyn Larsen

Here we are, already in the throes of the Advent season.

Do you have Christmas songs on repeat? Have you already drunk your fair share of eggnog and peppermint mochas?

Are you feeling stressed about the long list of Christmas presents you still need to buy?

Do you find yourself distractedly enraptured with all of the parties and cheer and fun?

Are you longing for God, but struggling to fit Him in?

It is not too late. God need not be fit in. He is in already.

It’s here in the throes of food and drink, shopping and gifting, parties and cookie-baking traditions that God lives and moves and has His being.

To find God in your life can be as simple as changing your posture. To see God with you in your life can be as subtle as coming to attention.

Making time to spend quietly with God is all good and well, but many of us struggle to do it. The few who do, seem barely able to shake the feeling that whatever we are doing isn’t enough, or isn’t as meaningful as we’d hope.

No matter, for God is most at home in the very middle of your life.

God is most comfortable in the midst of your to-do list, in the very moments of attending to all of the needs of your day, and in the various conversations you have at your company Christmas party.

After all, Immanuel, God with us, is at the heart of Advent. God curled up inside a womb. God bumping along on a pack animal to fulfill a legal census. God finding Himself without a proper hotel reservation. God walking alongside us on our poorly paved roads.

God is at work in and through your life. He wants you only for a partner, a co-laborer, a loving child.

Will you yield to Him? Will you recognize Him? Will you be awake to look in the right direction when He calls your name?

Advent is already alive in you. He is celebrating, anticipating, waiting again this season for the coming baby King.

He wants only to be seen, to be increasingly known and understood by you.

So straighten your posture; make a small movement toward God. He has already come to you, He is here now, exactly in the middle of your exciting, busy or ho-hum life.

How do you actually do this?

  • Ask God to wake your spirit whenever it falls asleep during these next few weeks of Advent.
  • Set aside 12 minutes to read Luke 1:1 – 2:40 in one sitting.
  • Pray that God would give you one phrase or verse as a theme for the remainder of Advent 2017. As you read, listen to the Holy Spirit’s whisper. If nothing particularly sticks out to you during your reading, go ahead and choose something. My favorite is Mary’s prayer in Luke 1:38, “May it be to me as you have said.”

Commit the phrase/ verse to memory or jot it down on a card that you can keep on your mirror or as a bookmark in the book you’re reading.

Whenever you think of God during your day, or feel guilt or shame or fear that you haven’t really thought of God at all the last few days, just pray that phrase/verse. Say it out loud if it’s not incredibly awkward.

If you need to, excuse yourself to the bathroom, sit alone on the countertop for a minute, and tell God it’s all you’ve got but here’s this prayer you read in the Advent story.

If you have five minutes, say it over and over again in the tone of voice you feel toward God and/or your life at the moment. Keep saying it, keep sighing it, letting it warm your heart to God.

For example: Start saying it with the angry or anxious tone you feel. Keep saying it until your anger/anxiety turns to frustration. Keep saying it until your frustration turns to compassion. Keep saying it until your compassion turns to willful desire for God. Or at least get as far down that road as you can for now.


About the Author: J.R. Larsen owes much of her spiritual development to her five years on Cru staff in her twenties. But in her thirties, she found her vocation as a writer after, well, writing, and then, despite her desperate resistance, being adopted by a cat. Her first published work, Passions Trilogy, a collection of devotionals for Advent, Lent and UnLent, is available. You can connect with her at Life with Jocelyn.

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