Advent Reflection: Eyes on the Horizon

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Advent Reflection: Eyes on the Horizon

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.

James 5:

Advent is waiting time, the season of making room for the coming King and the returning King. It is an embodied palindrome. Christ the Lord comes once in a town of Bethlehem, is born, is grown, is murdered, is resurrected, is ascended into Heaven. Advent invites us to stand in the tension of the first coming and the second, to keep an eye on the horizon, because the whole symphony of this creation could come to its crescendo at any moment.

St. James here has tasked us with patience. Patience like farmers. He says we are to establish our hearts, to root ourselves to the true things of God so that we may be found ready at his coming again. Farmers wait for the fruit of the earth to come in its time, to come with the harvest, but they busy themselves carefully until then. There are fields that need tending, weeds that need pulling, soil that needs tending.

I think of Mary, the Mother of God, establishing her heart for the first coming, keeping an eye on the horizon of her growing stomach.

In the Orthodox tradition, you pray to be found ready to receive Jesus as Mary was ready, making room in the self for him to fill you completely, to carry him within you as Mary literally carried him. Mary becomes the sign for us of what it means to bear forth Jesus into the world and for this reason I think if we are to hope in Advent to see his coming, we must hope to be found with the established heart of Mary, who when asked to follow after the impossible dream of God, responded, Be it unto me according to your word.

James tells us the coming is at hand, that we are in the season of the last days, even if the days seem to have gone on for so very long. Perhaps that is the point of Advent. Perhaps it is learning to keep watch on the horizon, while at the same time keeping rooted in the repose of the yes to all the impossible God wants to do here, now, before the coming again.


QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What does it look like to establish your heart? How could you establish your heart today? What do you think it was like for Mary to carry Jesus within her? How might you embody a posture of prayer that took seriously his presence within you?

PRAYER: Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, grant that I may find my rooting deep in your being, to have the heart of Mary to bear your Son within myself. Let every motion and movement be a reflection of your great love and majesty; let every word and song be an offering of your wondrous peace and grace. Send me now into the world to work out the justice of your Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit reign One God, now and forever. Amen.


P.S. from Mark: Preston Yancey is an author and speaker with a Masters of Letters in Theology & the Arts from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. His first book, Tables in the Wilderness: A Memoir of God Found, Lost, and Found Again, is to be published by Zondervan in October 2014. Read more from Preston on his blog.

Image courtesy of Laity Lodge, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.