Advent Every Day?

This is the first time that I have ever re-run a blog post, but I thought it might be worth doing this time. I wrote this about 3 years ago, and find it helpful in my own thoughts and prayers again during this Advent season. This will be the last post for 2013. Hope to “see” you again in 2014.

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An Advent sermon by Dominican Priest Oscar Uzin from Bolivia ended with this challenge: “The Lord is Coming, always coming. Be alert to his coming. When you have ears to hear and eyes to see, you will recognize him at any moment of your life. Life is Advent; Life is recognizing the coming of the Lord.”

So what are some of the reasons that we may not have eyes to see the Lord’s coming in our lives day by day?  Here are a few suggestions.

1.  Sometimes our spiritual eyes need to be healed in order for us to see. This was the constant message of the prophet Isaiah, and it was the experience of a man named Saul who was spiritually blind to the presence of Jesus in the people he was arresting.

2.  Sometimes we just need help seeing the spiritual dimension of life. This was the message of 2 Kings 6 when Elijah prayed that the eyes of his servant would be opened so that he could see the protection God was already providing for them in the midst of apparent danger.

3.  Sometimes we need to learn that God can be seen at work even in our worst sins, mistakes, and failures. Saul/Paul never argued that his missing the mark was justifiable. It was terrible. But, God certainly did not waste Paul’s failure. This failure was a constant motivation for Paul to serve Jesus’ wholeheartedly for many years.

Tony Dungy in “Uncommon” retells the story of Matt Emmons who was a champion marksman, but in the 2004 Olympics shot and hit the bullseye—of the wrong target 3 straight times. This champion favored for a medal, failed miserably at his quest. That evening, Katrina Kurkova from the Czech Republic came by to console and encourage Matt in his misery. Three years later they were married, and Matt claims that is better than a medal. Failure does not ever mean that there cannot be more to the story God is writing than meets our eyes at the moment.

4.  Sometimes we just need help seeing what matters in the middle of the muddle.

Can you find the 6 in the following muddle of 9’s?

9999999999999999999999999999999999

9999999999999999999999999999999999

9999999999999999999999999999999999

9999999999999999999999999999999999

9999999999999999999999999999999999

9999999999999999999999999999999999

9999699999999999999999999999999999

9999999999999999999999999999999999

9999999999999999999999999999999999

9999999999999999999999999999999999

9999999999999999999999999999999999

9999999999999999999999999999999999

Why is it so difficult for most of us? Isn’t that likely to be why the innkeeper missed the needs of a pregnant woman in the midst of the muddle of travelers due to a Roman Census?

5.  And, sometimes we just aren’t expecting the Lord’s presence to look like it does, and miss what is right in front of our eyes.  That is the story of 2 people on the road to Emmaus who cannot recognize Jesus until he breaks the bread in a manner that opens their eyes.  And, it is the challenge of Jesus’ parable in which those of us living daily life say, “When did we SEE you hungry, thirsty, in prison, sick…” And, he says, when you did it to the least of these my sisters and brothers, you did it for me.”

6.  What other reasons can you think of that we might need some help from the Lord in order to really see?

Lord, open our eyes that we might see.

As always, if you have any questions or thoughts about this post, or if there is another topic you’d like me to explore in a future post, please leave a comment. I always enjoy your questions and thoughts.

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