This past weekend, we had some time with our eleven-year-old granddaugther, making Christmas decorations, writing Christmas cards, and discussing the stories of Advent.
She is pleasantly curious, saying at one point as we discussed the doctrine of the Trinity (not in those terms, of course) “I have thought about that alot…how there could be God and Jesus and a Holy Spirit, but there is only One God.” Some mysteries will always be mysteries, and one of the mysteries is how to “explain” a mystery to a curious and rather intelligent girl. And as soon as I open my mouth I realize two things: First, I don’t really know what I am trying to say (I know the One about Whom I am trying to say it); and secondly, I find that as soon as I start talking I am stumbling over my words because I am more accustomed to discussing these things with my wife and my peers.
But when I got to the words of Mary in Luke 1, particularly Luke 1:46, I casually asked the question: “What do you think it means when Mary says “my soul magnifies the Lord.” And without missing a beat, her reply was “Well, I guess it means that her soul was bringing God closer.” That was it. I was silent for a minute (unusual for me) and Jocelyn (my wife) added “And I think it means the she was drawn closer to God” and before I could add my two-cents worth our granddaughter added “Yeah, like a telescope does.” Advent. Right there in the living room.
Such are the conversations going on in homes and houses of worship the world over. I love them, and I seem to have always loved them. Jocelyn talked with us some about how we often miss the true meaning of Christmas, and Savannah added that it was like Halloween which her friends all say is an evil holiday and she doesn’t think it is because she heard something about Saints and Halloween and most of the other holidays except those like the 4th of July tend to get confused with our ideas and we hardly know or understand what any of them are really about or why we celebrate them. Mystery. Right there in our living room.
Well, we delighted in our time around the candle, as it burned slowly through the marks for the day — it was on day 8 of the days of Advent, I believe — and we enjoyed the silence together before we realized that it was almost time for bed and we needed to do a bit of clean-up from a busy day of Jocelyn and Savannah making gingerbread turned into “people” and “houses” and almost a “village”. Life. Right there in our living room.
The mysteries of Life and of Advent come alive when we talk about them, when we ask our questions that have answers we are not quite prepared for. But the preparation is what it is about, and I love it.
The Disciples College and the Mission for Biblical Literacy continue to serve these kinds of purposes in the lives of many, now many around the world. Health care in Haiti, Bible School in Armenia, Campus Ministry in Georgia, and Education for Ministry across North America. We are carrying the mysteries and the discoveries to share with others, and we keep our opportunities open for all who would join in. Contact Bob Harris for further information: 770-815-9078 (eastern standard time) or firstname.lastname@example.org
May you and your loved ones draw closer to God during this Season of Advent. And Merry Christmas