Reframe. Reorient. Recenter. These are good words. They describe how God can use Advent in our minds and hearts.
Advent pulls us away from the distractions and frenetic busyness of the world around us and aims us instead toward our King, the One who came and will come again. Advent reframes how we live our lives “between the times” of Christ’s comings.
Sometimes that means we need to stop some of our needless activity. There are things that might need cutting from our calendars to make space for more time with God and each other. But not always.
Often, we simply need to reorient ourselves to see our activities in a new light. We can be doing the right things but forget why we’re doing them, or how they fit into a kingdom perspective. Our lives become fragmented into sacred and secular, joys and drudgeries. That’s where Advent comes in, and its reframing.
You’ve probably heard some variation of this story about laying bricks. A traveler came upon three men working. He asked the first man what he was doing, and the worker replied that he was laying bricks. He asked the second man the same question and he said he was putting up a wall. When he asked the third worker what he was doing, he said he was building a cathedral.
Same activity, very different perspective. Advent reminds me that the whole of our lives has meaning when we view our present in light of the past and future comings of Christ. Driving to work, mowing the lawn, praying with a friend, changing diapers, laying bricks. It’s all going somewhere. It’s all caught up in the forward movement of history that culminates in the coming of Christ.
Christ has come, Christ is coming again, and Christ comes to us now with his provision so we can live every day for his glory. Same activity, very different perspective. May the Spirit of God use this season to reframe us toward Jesus, in whom we have Hope, Peace, Joy, and Salvation.