😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace and presence be with you and happy Advent. Yes, the countdown has begun or is the countdown just continuing? In every moment of your life, that exact moment can be the beginning of one journey, while also being the middle and end of other journeys you are traveling. I find it interesting to be able to step back in those moments and look at the full picture, to see how these journeys intertwine.
A couple mornings ago I was reading in Mark chapter 12 and these two verses got me to thinking. Mark 12: 38-39 ‘As He taught, He said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets!”’
My focus wasn’t on the “Beware” part, but on the thought of having the best seats and places of honor. Which then lead me to thinking about focusing these four weeks of Advent on four gifts that I am thankful for. This first week I’m focusing on the gift of being last.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate the gift of being last and fading into the background a bit. At this point you may think that sounds strange or maybe questioning why I would consider that a gift. Well, there are multiple situations but here are a couple.
Think about going to church. You head up to, let’s say a seat within the first five pews. This way you can be close, make eye contact with the priest or deacon, make your presence be known, and avoid the distraction of those fidgeting and crying kids. From the last five pews, you can still see the priest and deacon. You can make eye contact and greet them when they process out, after Mass. But, you also have the opportunity to observe those at church with you and listen for whom God is asking you to pray for. This is different than just people watching and it’s not about just scanning the crowd and not paying attention to the liturgy. Every single one of us that step foot in the church are broken people. We walk through those doors carrying heavy burdens and worries and we come to this place each week to be in community and communion with our faith family to seek Christ’s Word, Presence, and Peace. Every single one of us are in need of prayers. By allowing yourself the blessing of being at the back of the church, seeing and experiencing those around and in front of you, you are allowing your heart to be open to God’s call to pray for that elderly man that seems a little sad sitting in the pew alone. Or maybe God’s call to pray for the young parent that desperately wants to be able to focus on the Mass, but their young child is sick or hungry and they are worried about making too much noise and distracting others around them. Or maybe God’s call to pray for someone that is far away from family during this holiday season and is really missing the feeling of family and home. Maybe He will call you to pray for that person a few pews over that just lost their job, or is being bullied, or has health issues. Listen for His guidance and then pray as He asks you. This truly is a blessing.
There are times and seasons in our lives when we have to be the bold, up front, in control, and in charge person. As the parent of grown children who now have families of their own, I very much enjoy stepping back and allowing my children and their families be the center of attention and just watch and experience their interactions, and pray for them as God leads me. It really does bring me great joy and I count those moments as some of my greatest blessings.
Sometimes we all need to just step back, look at the big picture, and allow God to show us a glimpse of the wonder, awe, and opportunities He sees every moment of every day. As you journey though this season of Advent, seek out opportunities to be last, fade into the crowd, and seek opportunities to pray for those you may not have otherwise even noticed.
Bless others and be blessed.
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