Psalm 126; Habakkuk 2:1-5; Philippians 3:7-11
Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:7-11
Advent is a hard season. It is often said that the darkest time of the night is that time just before the sunrise. This is how I understand Advent. Today’s scriptures compel us to ask this one piercing question of ourselves: “What am I really about?”
As a young man, Paul had it all: status, brilliance; pride; great leadership skills; perhaps even good looks. But like most of us who have lived long enough to have tempered that unbridled spirit of idealism, there was a recognition within himself, that he really wanted and needed to be about something more. Paul’s moment came while he was walking the road to Damascus, mine came after a rather prolonged midlife crisis. We are not gods and we ultimately do not control our own destinies, death makes certain of that. But what we do have is a benevolent master in Jesus who loves us more than we can ever love ourselves, who comes to us in the midst of the darkness and says, “I have you in my arms and I will never let you go.”
You see, Paul wanted nothing less than this absolute and complete communion with his master Jesus. In fact, he wanted it more than life itself. What about you? Do you trust that you are held in love through the darkest of nights and the most treacherous of storms? What are you about? What do you want to be about? I hope we can all sit with these questions this Advent as we all await the coming sunrise.
Come, Lord Jesus, Come.
Offered on December 11, 2014, by Dave Fredrickson, priest, spiritual director, asker of questions, child of God.