Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The One Who Hates Advent Most


There is something that hates Advent.  It is the one who despises all that it stands for.  A thing that is desperate to distract and divide and do everything it can do to keep our attention away from it.  Oh, I know, some people shy away from this talk as old fashioned or fanatical (and therein lies one of its greatest victories) but the reality remains.  

If Advent is the preparing of our hearts for Christ not only now but for His coming again (and it is) then oh, how the enemy must fight it!  How it must hate seeing souls taking care to prepare!  After all, Christmas marked the beginning of evil's end and His coming again will end the story and the devil's work once and for all.  That must terrify it and make it all the more desperate to pull other souls down as it goes.  We don't think much about that part of the whole story when we're baking our cookies and hanging the lights or even when we're praying our devotionals and lighting the wreath.  At least I don't.  But that doesn't stop it.

How the evil one loathes to see people preparing their hearts for Christ!  How it recoils and snaps at those seeking to live Advent as fully as they are able.  How it longs to draw our attention away from Christ and into anxiety, depression, frenetics, and doubt.  The more we double down our efforts to prepare our hearts and homes for Christ, the more it attacks.  But as many learn, the attacks are usually not immediately apparent but sneaky and subtle, whispers in your soul of doubt, fear, and anger.  Sometimes it slides in through the words or actions of others.  Sometimes it's satisfied in using the circumstances and normal frustrations of the day.  And sometimes it's content to just sit back and watch with a sneer as we do it all ourselves.

I should've seen this coming.  I think that every time I sway back and forth in the ring my soul battered and bruised from the beating.  It seems to trick me every time.  

But at the very least I can rest in this: the more it attacks, the more I know I'm onto something Good. Even if the opponent did get in a few great swings during the fight.  If you're feeling beaten and bruised this third week of Advent, maybe that's what you need to hear, too.  That the evil one doesn't bother with us if we're stagnant and lukewarm.   When we strive for intimacy with Christ and to live Advent well, when we feel the Lord calling us to something more and then we act on it, it is then that it tries to devour.  Keep on doing this whole Advent thing.  Don't give up.  Fight back through your faithfulness and the Word of God even when the feelings are gone, the fight is hard, and your will is weak.  Whether you're exhausted or frustrated or mocked or feeling like you're an Advent failure, keep on.  Keep the Baby's name on your lips and throw yourself at the mercy of the newborn king. 

"Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you." (James 4:7)

 “(Jesus) replied with the word of God. With the prince of this world one cannot dialogue...one can only respond with the word of God that defends us.” - Pope Francis

Less of his whispers in my ear, more of His name and word on my lips.


(Day 17)







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5 comments:

  1. Amen. Yes. More of Him. All for Him.

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  2. Thank you. I needed to hear this.

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  3. Yes, so very true! And, I really needed to hear this. Sometimes I'm afraid to get too close to God, because it feels like the closer you get to Christ the more the devil tempts you and tries to drag you away. Thanks for the reminder ot keep fighting the good fight.

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  4. This is so true, and I've never actually looked at it this way but needed to. I'm so glad you shared this revelation (at least to me) which should have been plain before me, but sometimes I can't see the forest for the trees.

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  5. Oh, wow. This is so timely and profound! Thank you for saying just what I needed to hear.

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