Thursday, 1 December 2011

First door of the Advent Calendar

We didn’t have a lot of entertainment when I was a young girl. Hence, the business of opening the door on the advent calendar each morning brought great excitement. (And this was in the days before hidden chocolates were even thought of). I would then happily head off to school knowing that today was the day of the ‘lantern’ or the ‘bell’ or the ‘reindeer’ or whatever picture had magically appeared at the peeling back of the advent door.
So here I am today - an adult, sure, but the anticipation of opening a door is still with me. Yesterday, I looked at the introduction of Margaret Silf’s book ‘Lighted Windows’ – so what will I discover behind my advent door today – or rather the1 December chapter of Margaret’s book?

Advent Day 1 is called ‘Risk’.
Here we find the story of Zechariah learning that his wife Elizabeth is to have a son. His disbelief at hearing this news renders him speechless until the day he came to name his new-born – John. Silf writes “ ‘If only God would write his instructions across the sky,’ we might often be tempted to think. If only it were obvious what we should do, which direction we should choose, how we should react to a particular person or situation. But life rarely gives us that kind of certainty. More often our choices and decisions are full of ambiguity and mixed motivation, and the best we can hope for is to do a minimum of harm – a goal so far removed from the desire that burns in our hearts to live true to the very best of our visions.” Margaret taps into the idea that we can get stuck in our comfort zones and stop expecting God to impact on our lives – a bit like Zechariah!

But, like Zechariah we are given time respond. God is patient and waits for us. Silf says ‘God invites us to take a chance on life too, without knowing where his guidance will lead us. To the extent that we can say ‘Yes’, we will discover the next step along the way.

She ends with this prayer:-
“Lord, I can’t see the bright sunlight of your leading, because my eyes are focused on the little candle of my own thinking. Blow out the candle if you must, and give me the grace to see your light in my darkness. Amen”

Now, here we are back at coincidences again. Earlier this evening I came across another blog that had quotes down the side (more on quotes another time). Well, I am quite into quotes and figured out how to add them. Then came the decision – what quote to post first. After a bit of deliberation I decided on the one from Aquinas.

"If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever."
Thomas Aquinas

And that brings me full circle back to risks!

So what advent image lies behind my door today? What have I gleaned from today’s coincidences and Silf’s reflections?
What do I see through the lighted window?

For me, I see a pair of wings and I hear my mother’s voice:-
“Linda, you have to jump off of the cliff and grow your wings on the way down.”

That is how I take my risks of faith. I jump. This blog is a risk. I have jumped. But, I just know that the wings will grow. So, as I head into another day - I will take the image of growing wings with me.

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