This past week marks the beginning of advent. I really wanted to do something more introspective this Christmas season but really didn’t know what to do. Finding new meaning in something that I’ve celebrated since I was a babe is very difficult. This week an old friend posted a link to a site dedicated to advent, essentially an online advent calendar. What an incredible resource and inspiration this has been for me already! I find the carving out of personal time always difficult, it just seems hard to be still and focus on Christ. However, I have felt inspired to make this advent personal and meaningful, willing to spend more time and effort. So I’m doing something that I have never done, and reflecting on advent creatively by creating visual images (when possible) and writing. As much as I love words, I am one of those people that seems ADD at times and has to reread a paragraph several times just to make it really stick. However a powerful and meaningful image can make me remember not just the words but my emotions and feelings at the time. A few weeks ago when I was asking for photography project ideas, a friend commented that I should photograph where I find/ see God (thanks Jackie). This is challenging, since I essentially feel like I experience his presence every time I want to pull out my camera (and many times in between). Anyways, you could say that this is my journey of faith this advent.
These are my reminders of Christ and my emotional responses. If you have a relationship with Christ, I would totally encourage you to check out the advent link. If you don’t have a relationship with God, I would encourage you to be curious. Feel free to check out the link or just follow along here. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to send them over. I would LOVE to chat!!! This is the core of who I am, the root of all my joy, my rock in every storm and comfort in all my sorrow. The images below were all inspired by the verses and text provided by the Biola University advent calendar. Much thanks for such an incredible resource!
I wasn’t going to post any of this, but then I was reminded/ encouraged of the importance of being vulnerable and transparent. So I decided to open up my heart and share my journey on here. I also love how I can organize my thoughts and images through blogging, always seems more effective for my own growth.
1. I am continually amazed by God’s amazing love for us. He offers us such a rich relationship, full of tenderness, love and grace. We are broken people. We have all experienced hurt, sadness and failure. We are fragile, searching and often afraid. Our hearts are imperfect, but we are perfectly loved by God. Since firewood is a part of every day for us, I couldn’t help think about how every tree is different. Each shows lines and scars but is somehow lovely when we look close enough. God knows our hearts. He is offering a rich relationship to all of us. I am grateful…
2. The belly button, our pre birth lifeline. When God sent his son Jesus to be born as a baby, he shared this symbol with fellow man. The belly button signifies our own birth and the gift of life, including our physical life as well as salvation. “When God gave His son, He loved us. Pause. He heard the cry of our hearts, and He came down in and through Jesus, to rescue us. Let the truth have its way. He came, not to judge, like we so often do, but to save.” The belly button is such a simple symbol but something that we all share. Our gift of life. (This is Calvin’s belly button taken with my $5 reversible ring, image not cropped)
3. The infant Jesus. I am struck by how God sent his son Jesus to be the most meek and mild. As an infant, he was so vulnerable. I reflect upon my own vulnerability and desire to be real, honest and raw; to be a woman of integrity and humility, the woman that God wants me to be. My heart continually seeks Christ. I think about how God would have felt to send his son to earth, knowing the hardships and eventual death that he would face. As a mother, this is so difficult to understand, which one of us would send our child into harms way. I sympathize with God, my heart aches for him and the choice that he made. Yet, I am eternally grateful.
4. Christ become the flesh. I am reminded that faith is our agreement with God, our confession of faith. “This confession is just the beginning, however. What follows is the journey of trusting that relationship, of letting that confession reverberate through our lives like sound waves, touching and transforming heart, mind and flesh.” The Lord is good. God, you “became flesh and bones with a human body in order to reconcile us to yourself. I had a tough time trying to think of what to do with this photographically. I just couldn’t shake the word flesh from my mind. Perhaps the artwork in the advent readings was what inspired this image, either way this is flesh. It’s not just skin, flesh represents the vulnerability that Jesus had to experience when he was on earth. He can identify with our flesh, our physical form and the weakness of the flesh.
5. “In him was life and the life was the light of man.” He is able to touch us to confirm us to his image. Our response needs to be willing and thankful hearts. Our “hope and fear are met him.” His light shines in the darkness. He is there waiting for us, the invitation is given. We just have to step into the light and become children of God. I am willing, I am thankful and I am ready…
6. God calls us to obedience. He gives us love so that we do not need to live in fear of him. He “understands our fears, failures and follies.” We are fully known and loved by God. Yes, he can save us, such good news! We are called to have an attitude of servant hood and humility, just as Jesus displayed when he was on earth. This is not the same thing as hanging our head down low and not valuing ourselves. I am learning that it’s quite the opposite, because we value ourselves (as God wants us to) we can be able to serve others. Obedience and attitude.
7. Jesus came down to earth and became poor, that we through his poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9b. Jesus is here. His grace is extended to all so that we may all live life abundantly. These words reminded me of this man that I saw on the streets of Vancouver this summer; considered the poor of Vancouver, homeless and unseen by passersby. He was creating such beautiful music, it was as if he was one with his accordion and the music was just flowing out of him. Regardless of who we are, where we come from, rich or poor, Jesus is extending grace to us. He can make a beautiful song out of all of us. Hope.
Thanks for joining me on my journey this advent. I love how God is already preparing my heart this Christmas season.