Monday, December 14, 2015

What I'm learning in Advent

This year Advent has been all about grace and acceptance for me. We all know we are each imperfect. We fail, we get lazy, we just plain screw up sometimes. The kind of grace I’m talking about is the kind you give to yourself. God’s great and amazing grace comes to us through the sacrifice of His son. We have it. It’s in us. His spirit flows in us whether we choose to recognize it or not. Well, if you have said, “OK, OK, I’ll start listening. What are all these fabulous things you promise?” Something strange starts to happen.

God works. He works in your heart and mind. He starts to change how you see the world, other people and yourself.

Humanity is both beautiful and ugly at the same time. This contradiction has not stopped God from loving us. He promises life everlasting and His creation restored. He then takes these promises and uses them in your life to give you hope. And through this grace He transforms the way we think about ourselves.

This Advent, I have had to ‘let go’ in a sense and be ‘graceful’ towards myself. I put these words in quotes because I think they can mean different things and they get used a lot. Let me explain in the best way I can:

I ‘let go’ of being mean to myself. I’m currently doing a coloring Advent calendar. It is very relaxing and meditative. I love praying and reflecting while watching that black and white pattern become a wash of beautiful color. I read the quote or verse on the left hand page and then get a sense of what colors I want to use on the right hand side. There is a magnificent flow to the process. I’m using The Advent Coloring Calendar by Paraclete Press.  

BUT, just like I had feared at the start, I have not been able to complete each page every day. For various reasons from a full schedule to a migraine, in which, my eyes did not like the pattern of that day. Like everything else new, I started with gusto and completed the first several days. Then life happened.

Through those incomplete pages, God has said it is OK. I sat with Him, I talked to Him, I listened and reflected. In those intricate patterns I allowed fear to be replaced with grace for myself. I knew what grace from my heavenly father meant but I did not know how very much grace from myself meant. I believe it is much easier for us to be hard on ourselves than to say, “I’m doing a good job and it is enough.”

So, wherever you fall on the behavior scale, don’t let your own grace be so offensive. Forgive yourself, give yourself absolution and move on. So, however you need to ‘let go,’ don’t let your fear trap you. Be kind to yourself, accept yourself. And then, continue to enjoy this process called life. Be free knowing that the promises of God will come to hope filled fruition.

I tell myself that even if this is all I get done today, it is OK.


  1. and grace upon grace upon grace for each of us- everyday. wonderful illustration