Category Archives: Advent

Now we Begin

by Marjorie George

voices of adventIt was a dark and stormy night (OK it was a rainy afternoon), and I was squeezed into the front seat of our brand-new 1970 VW Bug as my husband sped to the hospital for me to deliver our first baby. “Come now,” the doctor had said on the phone, “yes you are ready.”

“But I’m not ready,” I kept thinking. Oh, the nursery was properly decorated, baby bottles were sterilized and waiting,  the diaper service was on stand-by, and this was sure enough labor.  But I wasn’t mentally and emotionally ready for this thing that I suspected was about to overthrow my life. We had been married seven years by then and our little life was pretty settled. I sensed that was about to implode. Turns out I hadn’t seen nothin’ yet. Continue reading Now we Begin

Holding a space in hope

voices of adventA friend who lives on the north side of San Antonio is building a park in a south side neighborhood. He found the perfect lot on a street where many residents struggle daily with inadequate incomes, and luxuries like a park are infrequent. His vision was to provide a space where neighborhood residents could just come and sit under the shade trees, eat their lunches on picnic tables, relax around the fire pit with their families during cool weather. Continue reading Holding a space in hope

Hoping with the Announcing Angels

voices of adventI have been fortunate to spend time at the lake recently. Ah, sweet space, sweet air, sweet quiet. At the lake, anxiety falls off my shoulders as I shed the demands that confine my “city life.” At the lake, my to-do list becomes inconsequential and my focus changes from doing to just being. At the lake, languishing in a lounge chair on the porch is the correct protocol, for time is no longer measured, meted out, and assigned to particularities. The rhythm of life at the lake is struck not by the tick-tick of the clock on the wall but by the movement of the wind in the trees and the waves on the water. Continue reading Hoping with the Announcing Angels

Hoping with Simeon

voices of advent“Where were you when . . .” The question names the defining moments of our lives. Where were you on 9/11? Where were you when the Challenger exploded? Where were you when President Kennedy was killed, 50 years ago last month? My children were not yet born; the assassination of President Kennedy they know only from textbooks. But I know exactly where I was – overseas, the young bride of an Air Force enlisted man stationed in a foreign country. In that isolated place we had no telephone, no television, not even a radio. The news of the assassination – I should say partial news, for the information came spottily and unverified – was relayed by someone who had heard from someone, who had heard from someone else . . . it was scary times. Continue reading Hoping with Simeon

Voices of Advent

The voices of Advent – Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary, Isaiah, all the way back to Abraham and the prophets – call us to hope. Beginning Monday, Dec 2, and continuing for the next four weeks, we will engage with those voices. We invite you to join us.  If you received this message, you are already subscribed to ReflectionsOnline and will receive these reflections automatically.

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In the meantime, we are doing some blogsite maintenance this weekend. If you get strange messages, please ignore them.

– Marjorie George, editor.

Keeping Watch on Christmas Eve

 

Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve 2012

by Marjorie George

 

mind the gap for webOn the trains and subways in London, there is a phrase that is written at the threshold of every doorway: “Mind the gap.” It refers to the space between the train step and the adjacent landing. Londoners seem to be acutely aware of the gap; the human-less female voice that announces each stop always adds, cheerfully, “Mind the gap!” A favorite take-home of tourists has become t-shirts emblazoned with the phrase.

But in a spiritual formation class that I was in at Seminary of the Southwest in Austin recently, those words took a new meaning for us.  As we sat around classroom tables in deep discussions on the mysteries of God, every once in a while someone would say, “Mind the gap.” It came to signify to us the gap that exists between God’s majesty and our feeble attempts at understanding it.  It served to remind us that we will never have all the answers, that no matter how many books we read and how many papers we write, our understanding will never be complete.

Minding the gap was our recognition that our stories are not finished, that we are still on the journey. None of us, we agreed, can measure the distance between what our lives are today and what they might be some day.   

Often, too often for our comfort level, this gap is one of perplexity, of our mournful crying, “Why, God, why?” Why did this happen? Why can’t this be resolved? When will this pain cease? Where is the healing we so desperately seek?  

It would be too much to bear were it not for the Child of Bethlehem.  We would not be able to endure the unknowing did we not know that we don’t stand in this gap alone.

Watching and waiting for the birth, accepting the gift that the child is to us, means acknowledging our need of him.  It means humbly confessing that we can’t make our way without him, that the chasm between God’s goodness and our human failings is too deep and too wide for us to overcome on our own. In the gap, we claim our dependence on him.

The gift that we lay at the manger is our willingness to believe that in this child, the incarnate God is entering into our lives.  The Mighty One has put on flesh and will walk among us. He, too, will learn about human love and hate, trust and disappointment, success and adversity. His way will not be easy, and his path will not be smooth. He will even, in one horrific moment, ask where God is. He will be mindful of the gap.

In the manger lies the one who is the consolation of heaven and earth.  In him our worlds touch for a brief moment; the distance between God and man is no more.  

Because of Christmas, we need not fear or fill the gaps between our knowing and our unknowing; God in Christ comes to us there. 

Marjorie George is the editor of ReflectionsOnline. Reach her at marjorie.george@dwtx.org.