When we look at our global society, we witness a world in tatters. Nations are torn apart by war and struggles over power. Communities are littered with neglect and poverty. Neighborhoods are filled with violence that either pours out into the streets or becomes a nasty secret held behind locked doors. This unfolding knows no boundary. It happens to the poor and the rich, the young and the old, the believer and the unbeliever.
But Advent comes. We untangle the lights and hang them up. We dust off the star and place it on top of our tree. We place the tiny infant figurine in our nativity scene, and we feel a bit of grace begin to unfold into our messed up world.
I like to imagine that the places where we are most vulnerable, hurt, and longing are thin places - places where God's grace steps in. These are the places where it feels that we can almost touch God.
One of my favorite things to do in the Advent season is to sit up late at night in my quiet, still house while everyone else is asleep. I spend time looking at the lit Christmas tree. Those moments of stillness and light help me to feel that there is still hope for our world - that there is a thin place where God reaches in and touches me. It's kind of like the woman in the crowd simply reaching out and touching the hem of Christ's robe, or Anna and Simeon needing to lay their eyes on the infant Jesus. These are places where grace steps in and reminds me that God is still here. I am not orphaned and left alone in this world. God is still Emmanuel - with me - holding me - reaching out for me.
Where is grace stepping in for you? Share your grace moments. Give thanks for them. Don't let Advent slip by without noticing that God is holding you in grace as you await the coming of the Word made flesh.