Friday, November 26, 2010

Advent Season: what has been lost or lorn

Lo, in the silent night
A child to God is born
And all is brought again
That ere was lost or lorn.

Could but thy soul, O man,
Become a silent night!
God would be born in thee
And set all things aright.
--15th Century

"lorn": Desolate; forsaken. Middle English, from 'loren', past participle of 'lesen,' to lose.

Do you ever feel forsaken, desolate, broken, left out, empty?

I do. Perhaps, I don't have very many reasons to feel that way, based on the fact that I have a relatively happy, comfortable, and full life. But the fact is that even with the basics of life more than covered, everyone can relate to feelings of desolation at times. There are those, I suppose, who don't suffer with depression to a clinical extent. But no one gets medicated for being too happy although Americans in general have more circumstantial reasons to be happy than 98% of the world.

For the last few years, I've gone through a daily devotional for Advent season. it begins on November 24, and ends on Christmas eve. From the first day's devotional, an essay by Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt says

"That which is to come from God is the most important thing we have, in the past and in the present as well as in the future. It is only in God's coming that even the Bible itself has value to us, let alone all the other things we call "means of grace."

I'm in the midst of helping a dear friend prepare for a wedding. She's thinking of many little details...food, drink, decorations, clothing, music, travel plans for out of town guests...

If she thought of all those things and only those things, she would be missing the point, wouldn't she? Her first thought, all the way through and surrounding and driving those details is of the marriage, and the joy of the relationship she is building with her future husband.

That's why Advent is special. I have another friend who constantly reminds me that every day of the year is special, and that the liturgical calendar is crap meant to fool us into letting ourselves slide into comforting comas every other day of the year except for Lent and Advent. Well, every tool can be mis-used for the wrong purpose as well as the right one.

The beginning of Advent season, and my practice is to open my eyes to why Christ's coming means anything to me.

What has been lost or lorn in my life that needs to be put aright? Where is my desperation, my desolation, my emptiness? How does Christ's coming heal that those wounds and fill that emptiness?

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