"Wakey-Wakey, Eggs and Bakey!"

by Charlotte Long, Youth Ministries

By the time you read this, it will not be Advent anymore; however, at the time of my writing this, I'm thinking that my Advent feelings are allowed into the Christmas season and Epiphany and beyond. Because Advent is charging me right now; as, in handing me a charge. It's not a clear one, but it's certainly an ACTIVE one. And I partly know why. Every year, I think about Advent as a dreamy, sleepy time. It feels like it should be a quiet kind of waiting, a hushed sort of looking at a manger in order not to wake the baby. But really, I think it's about paying attention. Because how on earth will we find the baby, this miracle, in a dirty, cold barn, unless we are paying attention!! And this bring me to: I suppose then that my paying attention needs to be more aggressive.

HEAR YE: A call to paying attention! No longer will it be a soft sort of gazing about and being pleased by leaves and nature! Because if I'm really paying attention, I will sometimes be horrified. Sometimes I will be filled with Joy with a capitalized J, and this is a gift from God. But too often, I will also have to see the hate and terror in the world; I will see that there is a baby born in winter to poverty and I will be stunned that I am not saving him; and if I am truly paying attention, then I will fall on my knees and weep.

We don't want Advent to be this. Heck, we don't want any season to be this. But as C.S. Lewis proffered, don't come to Christianity for comfort. Or something like that.

Rebecca Solnit writes, "This paying attention is the foundational act of empathy, of listening, of seeing, of imagining experiences other than one's own, of getting out of the boundaries of one's own experience. There's a currently popular argument that books help us feel empathy, but if they do so they do it by helping us imagine that we are people we are not. Or to go deeper within ourselves, to be more aware of what it means to be heartbroken, or ill, or six, or ninety-six, or completely lost. Not just versions of our self-rendered awesome and eternally justified and always right, living in a world in which other people only exist to help reinforce our magnificence..."

Sometimes paying attention is torture, because we must admit less than pleasant things about ourselves. But listen! We don't have to feel torture! We can see the icky thing in us and laugh and go, oh yeah -I'm just a human messing about sometimes. And that can lead us to DO something about it. Paying attention can be a fast track, a highway to feeling better about our icky. It can be a highway to hearing God, which is super great, although not always pleasant. It can show us the solution to the icky, which can lead to the Joy - and I want that; I want that solution, that forgiveness, than deep J-Joy more deeply then I want to stay safe and sane and unaware.

So let Christmas charge us! Let us open our eyes and awake!

Ephesians 5:13-14: "But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, "Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."

And, in other news: here's a picture of Caroline, Ryan and Natalie from our Rite13 at Church of Our Saviour's Food for Friends homeless lunch program! Green Beans for days!