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Advent, the Fourth Week

This weekend, we had 36 hours of snow and snow and snow. The boys have some nice sled runs carved down the hill behind our house, and Seth even took to riding his snowboard style (pretty well, I must say).

But now we are here, this morning where the pinkish-orange sky rises above Carter’s Mountain and the fiery sun comes to take back more of the whiteness that covers everything. We are here, in the final week of Advent. And I want to touch on one idea that has been hovering with me for some time.

As we all know and as most of us have grown accustomed to saying often, indeed, greed is a problem. Indeed, rampant, thoughtless consumerism plagues us. Yes, we ought resist the lust for more! more! more!

Still…

The very heart of the Good News is reckless generosity. The gospel is immensely powerful, reality-shattering, because it declares a truth so extravagant that it borders on the absurd: God, Creator and Ruler of all, came to us…to us. And came as a squalling, helpless baby…a baby. This moment Bruno Forte describes as the impossible occasion “when the Whole, the All, offers itself to us in the fragment, when the Infinite makes itself little.” Extravagance unbounded.

When the angel came to Mary, he offered a gift, to her and to the world. A gift beyond our wildest dreams. A gift we could never have arranged for on our own. And God gives this gift still…now. This Christmas, in honor of and in the spirit of the Great Gift, I’ll be giving gifts too. I want to give more of my time, myself, my attention and words and prayers and hugs. But also, I’ll be giving two boys a few gifts that are unnecessary, things that make them laugh and jump up and down and run around the room like someone lit a fire to their tail. And I’ll be giving a gift or two to Miska (though less than I’d like this year), gifts that tell her that she is loved and desired and that if I had a kingdom to give away, it would all be hers.

Because I know a King who does have a Kingdom, and we see what he did…

_____

And I want to give another gift away here, too. This will be our final drawing, so jump in. Scot McKnight has written a wonderful little introduction to the Church’s practices on prayer, Praying with the Church. Here, McKnight offers an overview of the various traditions on prayer and guides us into our own rhythms for following Jesus via prayer. As last week’s book, I think this will be a helpful resource for the new year.

So, leave a comment and a way to contact you – and you will be in the drawing. Per the usual, the deadline is Tuesday night at midnight. Check back here to see if you’ve won.

10 thoughts on “Advent, the Fourth Week

  1. Thank God for his willingness to send us his son to show us what kind of kingdom we will inherit in the end (or is it the beginning?)

  2. And, thank you, Winn Collier, for the gift you give to me and to many – the gift of sharing your heart, your thoughts, your words.

  3. Winn – I have really enjoyed your Advent reflections. It has led me to miss you and your sweet family all the more. Peace to you all this Advent season.

  4. I like the phrase "reckless generosity." Hey, that would go well as a partner to some book you wrote recently, wouldn't it? 🙂

  5. thanks for the facebook reminder! with being home for the holidays, the past couple of days have been a bit hectic. it's good to have a few moments to intentionally be still. so thank you for providing the avenue for stillness and bringing my heart closer to where it needs to be.

  6. Thank you for the reminder that we have a God who gives recklessly and unnecessarily! What gifts we have been given if we will just see. Merry Christmas, Winn!

  7. Thanks for sharing your thoughts through this season of Advent. Peace to you.

  8. and the winner of our fourth week is…Melissa Collier, my long lost cousin: )

    I don't need your address, I'll just drop it by.

    Happy Advent, all.
    And Merry Christmas!

  9. Winn, thanks for all the reflections and sharing of yourself and the little treasures you've discovered along the way. I look forward to a day when our ministry can intersect again. I hope you, Miska and the boys had a wonderful Christmas and are able to look forward to 2010 with great anticipation.

  10. Dayna, we did and we are…

    And, of course, we too would look forward to future connection, hope it happens!

words have a way of making friends. drop a few here.