Thank you for taking the time to sit with our annual Advent Devotionals. Campus is quiet now with the students home for winter break, yet the spirit of Advent continues with more words from of members of the TCU community. Today’s piece comes from TCU faculty member Brandy Quinn. Brandy teaches in the College of Education, and you can also find her teaching yoga at Indigo Yoga in Fort Worth. Since week 4 of Advent is unbearably short, I’ve asked her to embrace the theme of rejoicing a bit ahead of schedule. May her words bring you right into the joy of the incarnation.
Words to ponder:
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you this sign: The virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.”
“Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible with God.”
Luke 1: 36 – 37
Making Room for God’s Love
As I reflected on how to combine the spirit of preparation that is at the heart of Advent with the spirit of rejoicing that is the theme of this week’s devotionals, I turned to today’s lectionary cycle readings for the Catholic mass.
The readings for December 20th include Isaiah’s prophecy of a woman giving birth to a son, Emmanuel, whose name means, “god with us,” and Luke’s account of the moment that Mary, a young unmarried woman, learned she would be the mother of Jesus, the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. At the same time, Mary learns that her relative, Elizabeth, an older woman thought to be past the ability to conceive and give birth to a child, is in fact well into her own pregnancy. Luke then reminds his readers that, “nothing will be impossible with God.”
What then, of rejoicing while in the spirit of preparation? Well, the focus on two women who know they will bring life into the world, but who have not yet given birth, provides some guidance.
Christmas, at heart, is about God’s love bursting right into the beauty (and sometimes mess!) of humanity. When we prepare for Christmas, we prepare for the possibility of love showing up in all the ways we imagine, and also in the most unlikely and unconventional ways and people and places. During Advent, we prepare and make room for God’s love, in whatever ways it may show up – challenging, embracing, and supporting us to be love in the world.
And so, like Mary and Elizabeth, when we notice the faint glimmer of love coming to life in any of its incarnations, we may rejoice in what is to come. At the same time, we may feel confusion and uncertainty when love seems to be coming to life in ways that are unexpected or unconventional – like it did for Mary and Elizabeth. And like Mary and Elizabeth did, we can choose to make room, starting with noticing, accepting, and nurturing the glimmers of love that are already present in our lives.
Let us pray
God, please help us to notice the love that is already in our lives, accept it for what it is now, and rejoice in the hope of what it may become. In helping us to notice the glimmers of love already present in expected and unexpected ways in our own lives, help us to know that love is always possible, and let our actions be a response to that truth.