Reflections by Jerry Webber

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Advent Dawns

I notice that my life follows definite rhythms, not always predictable, but always moving, changing, shaping in different ways.

I've come to think of them as the seasons of my life. Certain seasons in my work, for instance, have a rhythm in which I experience either more or less energy, depending on the season.

My health follows a particular rhythm. In times of poor health or chemotherapy treatments, I have less energy and I'm able to engage a bit less in the rigors of daily work.

I've learned that if I can identify the season in which I find myself, it will help me to enter into it and move through it in ways that are life-giving and freeing. I have learned this lesson the hard way. I spend many years resisting seasons in which I found myself. I was convinced that life should be always "upward and onward," getting better and better, ever fluorescent, flowering and prospering. That's not reality, but I was convinced that life should be lived that way.

When I began entering into the seasonality of life, I realized that each season has its own energy, its own pace, its own needs. For instance, if you think in terms of literal seasons, winter has a different energy than summer and fall. Spring has a different energy than fall or winter. There are things appropriate to one season that may not be appropriate to another.

So a huge part of knowing myself, or "noticing my own life," is to identify where I am at any given moment, and to allow myself to be in that place as honestly and faithfully as possible. It is freeing for me to let myself be where I am, rather than trying to force myself into another place or another pattern that is not appropriate to the moment.

Some of my personal seasons move around the Church calendar. In my background as an evangelical Baptist, I did not honor the movements of the Church year much. I've discovered through the years, though, that there is tremendous energy in my life's movement in unison with the rhythm of the wider Church.

So Sunday, November 27 begins the season of Advent. It is a season of color, of patience and waiting, and of preparation. Its disciplines are helpful for me, and always seem to fit the season of my soul.

I realized last week, as I was going through the routine of breaking in a new journal, that it would begin primarily with my Advent journey for 2011. There was something significant in that for me . . . looking at a book of 196 pages, all blank, with lines awaiting me. Who knows what will make it to those pages? But some of the first things to appear there will be prayer and reflection from this season of Advent.

At another website I'll offer brief thoughts on the daily Scripture readings for Advent. You can find those reflections at I invite you to join me there over the next five weeks as we explore the season of Advent together.

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