During Advent this year, we're going to share some reflections each Monday. Hope this is an engaging way for you to begin your week.
I have an urge to rewrite this story. In my version, ten bridesmaids take their lamps and go to meet the bridegroom. Five of them are foolish and five are wise, but they’re all close friends, so it doesn’t matter much. When they arrive, the foolish bridesmaids realize they’ve forgotten their oil, but to their relief, one of the wise bridesmaids, Betty, has extra. “I figured at least one of you knuckleheads would forget her oil!” she says, smiling. The bridesmaids all share the oil, fill their lamps, and wait late into the night for the groom to show up. They pass the time telling foolish and wise stories, and when the groom eventually shows up, they tease him for being so late. Everybody goes inside and the party continues.
Nobody gets left out. Everyone is welcome. Maybe it’s the fool in me who would have it this way, but the line, “Truly I tell you, I do not know you” troubles me greatly, to say the least. Yet here we are in this season of Advent, and we’re doing some waiting of our own. Like those bridesmaids assessing their supply of oil, we’ve been taking stock of our own lives lately. And sure, we’d like to think of ourselves as wise people, but I’ll be the first one to admit a fairly wide foolish streak—anyone else?
Advent is a season of preparation—a time to be silent, to reflect, to listen, and to wait. Oddly enough, December tends to be the most frantic month of the year. Regardless of how much oil we’ve got in the tank, it’s not uncommon for us to feel “burnt out” these days as we finish up the semester, make holiday plans, get the shopping done, make lists, clean the house, write Christmas cards, and so on… We’re just like those foolish bridesmaids rushing off on just one more errand while there’s still time! December is still a few days off, and already a Christmas frenzy has gripped our culture.
Never fear—Christmas is a few weeks off yet. Welcome to Advent. Let Christ’s command in your life be simple these days: Slow down. Breathe. Watch. Wait. Keep awake for God’s coming in our lives and in our world.
Take a moment right now, perhaps, and let this poem be a meditation for you..
"Let Your God Love You" by Edwina Gateley
Before your God.
Let your God look upon you.
That is all.
God loves you
With an enormous love,
And only wants
To look upon you
With that love.
Let your God—