Pastoral Series

Prayer: Watch

   A friend sent me a Christmas card the other day, with these thoughtful words from John Henry Newman enclosed: “They watch for Christ who are sensitive, eager, apprehensive in mind, who are awake, alive, quick-sighted, zealous in honoring him, who look for him in all that happens, and who would not be surprised, who would not be over-agitated or overwhelmed, if they found that he was coming at once… This then is to watch: to be detached from what is present, and to live in what is unseen; to live in the thought of Christ as he came once, and as he will come again; to desire his second coming, from our affectionate and grateful remembrance of his first.”

I’ve been tossing that around in my mind. I am trying, this year during Advent, to be more of a watcher, to look for Christ’s coming here and there. I want to see more of the unseen. I want to be one who might be described as “zealous in honoring him.” I don’t have to be perfect in honoring Christ; but being passionately eager to honor him this week, this afternoon, tomorrow evening, with my thoughts, words and actions, is pleasing to God.

I am so grateful for the “remembrance of his first coming” – and it stirs affection in me, too. When I reflect on God choosing to reveal God’s heart to us in the form of this small, vulnerable child, to come to a place that was no place, to people who were nobodies, I am hopeful, and inclined to live a simpler live, and to show a little more courage. I love Christmas, its songs and decorations (or at least most of them…), and the mood of generosity and good cheer. If Christmas past is beautiful, how much more beautiful will be the future coming of Christ – at time’s end, on Christmas day, or maybe later on today?

So join me in staying awake, tuning our sensitivities toward God, being eager to honor him, and a bit detached from the swirl of the now as together we desire Christ’s coming to us.

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