Advent, the invitation

The mailbox is filling up with invitations. So many parties, events, opportunities to be together with so many different groups of people. They are all so good, I can never decide. And the inbox is filling up with so many questions. What do you want for Christmas? What do you want to eat? Where do you want to go?

It’s intimidating for so many little reasons, but at the core of it is the deeper reason experience tells me is coming.

The possibility is highly likely that I will still feel so empty and alone even after getting everything I thought I wanted.

“Perhaps our expectations were confounded when we sought to set down roots in something human, something beautiful, but something not spiritually as far as God was asking us to come. And this became an invitation to go forth to that aloneness which for all of us is necessary for a profound intimacy with Christ, who alone perfectly understands us.”

Mother Mary Francis

I repeatedly read over this statement this morning, because it so concisely sums up my move from Kansas to Florida. A move triggered by my own good intentions, which became an invitation for something much more. An invitation to use aloneness to move forward instead of a reason to quit. An invitation to go from lukewarm to being completely consumed with His fire.

These interior movements are much greater than the exterior can even hint at. Look for the invitation. It’s there in the moments of our lives when we really seek what is good, true, and beautiful. But all too often we pass it up, either intentionally because it seems too difficult, or unintentionally because we are so easily distracted by achieving our own goals.

I love during Advent how we light one candle at a time. It encourages a slow walk toward the glowing manger, holding my breath. That approach gives me time to look for the real invitation. My own sparks may get me moving, but I’ve learned they are just a sign to look for His all-consuming fire, the only invitation I absolutely must accept.

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