I’m joining up today with the Synchroblog community to explore the theme of ‘Coming Home’ at this time of year. I’m hoping this will line up well with my advent series which is going to run daily this week. It’s a little jammed into the middle of the waiting season but if life is a little hectic I’m hoping that you might over the next few days and weeks be able to discover and enjoy some time to read and draw out some of the ideas and contemplations in the series.
My early faith and theology as well as the consumer and success driven culture I grew up in focussed too much on the future and didn’t encourage me to be present. It didn’t teach me to discover the presence of myself, the presence of others nor the presence of the sacred that sits within and around us, lapping gently at our souls. Advent last year really drew me to the idea of presence and discovery and in many ways a recovery. Faith traditions can spend a lot of time criticising the habits of those without faith at this time of year and don’t really spend time examining the absence of presence in their own bustle and efforts to emphasise the significance of the past (nativity story) for the future (salvation for all mankind).
I’ve been on a body and incarnational journey that is striking both discovery and peace into the heart of me and when it comes to advent and when it comes to Christmas, despite my pluralism and my uncertainty, it feels like an annual coming home.
I have found that scores of traditions and faiths and theologians have a lot to say and reveal about our desire for and search for God. I have discovered the preciousness of the sacred within myself and others, and confronted the possibility that in many ways that might really be what Jesus was and is about.
I love to sing, often to the point that I can’t anymore because there’s a lump in my throat and I’m starting to cry . At this time of year I particularly, particularly love to sing:
How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given,
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heaven,
No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still
The dear Christ enters in.
Because when I sing that I think that I receive a gift, a silent and wondrous gift that is working all the time within me and those around me to impart the beautiful, holy God in whose image we are made. I don’t think I’m singing about sin as this ransom situation that requires murder and death to be resolved, I’m singing about brokenness that can be soothed, healed, restored and redeemed by receiving the wholeness of what incarnation promises and reveals. This is not the Christ of the altar call, or the twelve step gospel – but the “Emmanuel – God with us” – the infant body that reminded the world via prophecy and gospel that God is within us, that we are divinity and dust.
These silent moments, when I feel like I’m receiving a gift, they hit me during this season in such a wonderful and mythical way.
Unpredictable, devastating mystery.
I ache. Because I’ve been places and experienced this season where I was told (and I told others) exactly what it all meant and now I don’t know at all and that makes it all the more wonderful.
It’s like coming home.