By Roberta J. Egli
Messy Advent Blessing
May the stories you tell, the people you meet, the ways you fill your days during this season bring you closer to Bethlehem. May your heart be full of kindness and compassion, may you say thank you and I’m sorry often. May you find the courage to be brave like Mary, to say yes to God wherever God is calling you, remembering that on your journey, there will be darkness and there will be light, but that God is always with you. Amen
~Aaron Jenkyn, Epiphany Messy Church, Newport, NH
Little did I expect that this Advent reflection would still be on my computer three weeks later. The plan was to send it out at the beginning of Advent but December has not gone according to my plan. The goals for December was to confirm Messy Church trainings for 2020, intensively plan the web registration for the Celebrate the Mess conference in October 2020 and to clean up my files that have been out of control since September.
However, life happened and much of my time these past several weeks have been spent waiting. Waiting in an emergency room with my husband for five hours for him to be seen for a worsening toe infection. Waiting to get results of an MRI to see if the infection was included the bone. Waiting for a ‘real room’ in the hospital rather than the no-window dreary observation room. Waiting for the advice of medical specialists for treatment. Waiting for the surgeon to walk through the recovery room doors to give me the results of his surgery. Waiting for the order that Lynn could go home. One thing I have learned is that I am not very good at waiting!
Waiting is difficult. Advent is a season of waiting. Was there some hidden Advent message in all of the waiting these past weeks?
Lynn is at home now and recovering well. Life is beginning to resemble our normal daily rhythm. I now have the time and energy to reflect a bit on what I have learned through waiting this Advent.
- God is with us as we wait. The Spirit of God is as close as our breath. When I became anxious and impatient as I waited, I remembered to take a deep breath in and out. Simply focusing and praying with my breath helped to center me and remind me that God was present in all of the waiting. As the Advent blessing from quoted above, “…on your journey, there will be darkness and there will be light, but that God is always with you.”
- Waiting creates community. We had been sent to the Emergency Room by Lynn’s physician so we thought we would receive care soon after arriving. However, we waited for five hours and created community with all of the patients and families who were waiting. I heard stories and connected with a diverse group of people. We became the waiting community who kept inviting others to join in through sharing their stories as they awaited care. Telling our stories is how community is formed. I wonder how we share stories in our Messy Churches as we form community.
- Waiting brings unexpected gifts. I was reminded of all of the many new friends Messy Church has brought into my life through all the global Facebook messages we received. Knowing that friends all over the world were praying for us brought us joy as we waited. We were forced to slow down from our busy lives for several weeks. This new pace has brought a new appreciation of the true gifts of Christmas.
I invite you to take a moment to pause in your busy day as you prepare for Christmas. Breath in God’s love…Breathe out your request.
Pause and once again slowly read the Advent Blessing from Aaron Jenkyn.
May the stories you tell, the people you meet, the ways you fill your days during this season bring you closer to Bethlehem.
May your heart be full of kindness and compassion, may you say thank you and I’m sorry often.
May you find the courage to be brave like Mary, to say yes to God wherever God is calling you, remembering that on your journey, there will be darkness and there will be light, but that God is always with you.
May you experience God’s presence in unexpected places today.
Grace and peace,