growing pains – thoughts on advent

Posted on November 29, 2011

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Last w/e in Godly Play at church Ruben told me that they had started the story of Jesus, starting with Elizabeth and Mary being visited by the angel.
I played the fool and asked ”so did you get to the bit where Mary visited her friend Elizabeth?” to which Ruben was on the ball and corrected me “…they were in fact cousins, Daddy.”
It’s nice to know he’s paying attention. :-]

I’ve been wondering what to write about Advent, so for those who don’t know, or those who think it’s simply the name given to a Christmas calendar full of chocolates, the word ‘advent’ literally means ‘coming’ [latin: adventus], and it’s the time of preparation leading up to the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The time when God came into this world, to be physically among us.

Of course we all know that this started with a pregnancy, and there is no accident that there is a distinct correlation between pregnancy and how God grows inside those who choose to believe in Him – changing them from the inside out.

I will never forget watching my wife stretch and grow to a size which, while natural and beautiful, does not look normal, and I think it’s like this with God. When we choose to follow Jesus, something happens inside us, something begins to grow. And as with Mary and Elizabeth, He doesn’t ask us to understand – simply to trust in Him, because He has a plan for us. Then He begins to stretch our hearts and souls more than they’ve ever been stretched before… more than we thought possible.
We are unprepared (and normally full of questions) for what He is going to do but His process of growing and stretching us makes us fit for His purpose.
There are times when deep inside we feel nothing – sometimes even doubting that anything’s really happened. Then there’s a flutter, a movement and sometimes a kick that reminds us of His presence within us. There are many uncomfortable sensations and these are to be expected. We find the clothing we used to wear is no longer comfortable…
Our spirit is becoming what it was meant to be and meant to do. So expect there to be discomfort and pain… and expect it to not look normal!
But I assure you of this. It will be beautiful – and there will be oh so much joy by comparison.

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