December 1, 2017

The season of Advent jolts us out of our mundane, sleepy existence and calls us to expect the unexpected and imagine the unimaginable. The Advent scripture texts invite us to live into the dawning of a new day when swords are turned into ploughshares, lions and lambs frolic together, and the oppressed are liberated. We are invited to wonder about a God whose best idea for saving the world is through a child born in a barn to a young, impoverished, and unwed mother. On the first Sunday of Advent, the prophet Isaiah says, “Oh, that God would tear open the heavens and come down!” An extravagant gesture! But that is exactly what God did.

What if our witness to such a God were equally extravagant? What if this Advent season we at St John’s were to embrace a holy extravagance? Not the extravagance of frenzied shopping, unbridled spending, and overindulged eating, but the extravagance of a God who poured out love for all humanity through the birth of a naked and vulnerable child.

What if this season we were to give extravagantly, pray extravagantly, sing and make music extravagantly, love our neighbours extravagantly? What if we were to forgive extravagantly, love our enemies extravagantly? Might we without restraint join with Mary and sing, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my Spirit rejoices in God my Saviour”? Might we like the Bethlehem innkeeper raise our lanterns so that our light pierces the darkness, and say, “But wait, perhaps I can make room after all?” Who might we touch with our extravagance? How might we each be transformed by such extravagance?

In the Spirit of Advent a new day has dawned, is dawning, will dawn. May we remember again Paul’s words to the Thessalonians: “Rejoice always ! Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in all circumstances.”
Blessed Advent. Happy Christmas.
The Wardens of St John’s