Monday, November 27, 2017

Forgiveness as an Advent Practice

This Sunday is the beginning of the Advent season - four weeks of preparation for Christ to enter our world anew. Advent is a season of hopefulness and anticipation. We can't wait for God's incarnation into our existence. But Advent is also a time of darkness, pain, and lament. In this darkest time of the year, we long for the Light of the World to radiantly burst forth, because the darkness feels too heavy and all-consuming. Sin and corruption are rampant in us all, people are at odds with one another, and sadness and loneliness too easily overwhelm. Things are not right.

To some degree, our calling is simply to wait. Advent is a season of waiting; of hopeful anticipation that help is on the way. And yet, we are also called to actively wait; to seek solutions to the problems we have inherited and created. 

One form of active waiting that I have been thinking about recently is the long-lost art of asking for forgiveness. If the world is not the way it is meant to be, and if we have some role in that outcome, then one massive step forward is the willing submission to the humble process of apology and forgiveness. Is there something you have done that has hurt someone else and you need to simply say sorry? Is there a way you have contributed to things not being right where you need to repent and ask for forgiveness? Are there relationships in your life that have gone askew, where you could be the bigger person, own your part of the blame, and seek reconciliation through contrition?

During this Advent season, may you be willing to take the bold first step of seeking restoration. May you own your mistakes, say you're sorry, and see if the incarnated God can begin to redeem some of the brokenness of the relationship at a time.

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