Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I once read (or heard) that fish have no awareness of water, at least not until they are yanked out of it. While I am not sure how anyone can actually assess the water-awareness level of fish, I choose to give fish experts the benefit of the doubt regarding this matter. First of all, I have no basis for questioning fish experts. Second, I can relate to the fish.

Like fish swimming around in water about which they are unaware, I walk around the world most of the time in a significant state of oblivion with respect to the presence of God (some might say with respect to many other things as well). Yet I have had on a very few rare occasions the experience that God has momentarily broken into my life with powerful, life-changing results. It has caused me to wonder why God does not offer this to me on a more frequent basis. 

In reflecting back on these fleeting occurrences, I have in the past few years come to perceive that these moments are less about God breaking in and more about my glimpses of awareness. Like the ocean water is to a fish, I am engulfed in God’s presence. I am most always unaware of it at any genuine level of connection. But though infrequent and not sustained, those few moments of momentary awareness have certainly been the beginning of something new, of something transformed in me. And this is how I have come to understand Advent. There is the big “A” advent of the Incarnation and the few little “a” personal advents that have helped connect me to it.

I am fortunate to have a nice array of Christmas memories that I can recall and share that help me remember the past and connect to loved ones no longer here. These memories help me give value to new Christmas experiences and to remember to cherish them because, as I did not know as a young child, they are fleeting. But I think the lesson I am very slowly learning and perhaps better embracing in tiny increments is that if I am a little more intentional to contribute to preparing the way for the next advent, I might just experience a new and brief glimpse of what seems like God breaking in…


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