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Advent Devotional 1: 12/4

Week 1: Advent Begins

Good morning.  It’s that time of year again, as we enter into the Advent season we’ll be marking the weeks ahead by sharing heartful devotionals written by TCU students, faculty, staff, and campus ministers.  We’re grateful to be on the journey together, across a beautifully growing campus, but still connected as one horned frog family. Today’s devotional was written by yours truly, so we’ll skip the usual introduction, but look ahead to hearing from students, faculty and staff from throughout campus in the days ahead.

Luke 1: 30-32

The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.

Making Space

Advent is here. From the moment Thanksgiving ended, my two young boys counted down to its official beginning with the same kind of joyful impatience that they reserve for counting the days until Christmas itself. “How many days until we can put up the tree?” “How many days until we can open our Advent calendars?” “How many days until the first candle is lit?” The questions just kept coming.  

Life outside our household didn’t seem that much different as the season kicked off with its usual breakneck speed. I watched this past weekend as around our neighborhood and on campus life already seemed filled with signs of the holidays. There were more concerts, pageants and festivals than I could count. The storefronts were as bustling as Market Square at lunchtime and grocery stores parking lots were as packed as I’m guessing the library will be this week.

On one hand, there are more opportunities to celebrate then there are hours in a week.  Life not just now, but many times can be quite full like this. This is especially true when we think about all that also comes with the semester’s end – one packed with finals, tests and even for some preparations for commencement and graduation. 

In the middle of all this where can we still find margin time in the weeks ahead? For me, margin time is slightly different than self-care or Sabbath. Like the spaces on the sides of a page, margin time is not only the physical time on a calendar although that’s part of it, but it’s also the emotional and spiritual space we make within ourselves as we encounter the world.  True, there always times where our margins are narrower, but it’s amazing what happens when we make space for wide margins both in between our schedules and even within them. 

Wide margins give us space to see God at work in our world. They encourage us to see the holy within others we encounter – not just within friends and family, but even within strangers and those who challenge us. Big margins nudge us to towards the hopefulness that Advent call us to – not because the world is simple and easy, but because in fact just like in the times of the Advent story, it’s not. Most importantly, it invites us to be awake and aware as we prepare for what, and who, is to come into this world born in a manger.

Let us pray.

Holy one, we come to you as this Advent season begins anticipating all that lies ahead. Be with us when life is full and busy. Be with us when life is still and calm. Help us to make space and margin to encounter you in the world of those around us and most importantly in the faces of those we see. Nudge us to make room in our hearts for the abundant hope that comes through a newborn child we know as Christ.



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