Advent, Day 17: What we shall be.

Today’s reading: 1 John 3:1-2

In case you’re wondering where I was yesterday… I was here, but my computer was taking a mental health day, apparently. We’re back in biz today, after a full day of running virus scans and putting my superhero powers (not; more like dumb luck and sheer desperation) to work against the evil forces of spyware and trojans. A couple of system-restores later, and the ol’ laptop seems good to go.

Something important happened to me, though, which was that I realized that I was really tired!! Writing these posts has been an incredible practice for me; I have never in my life written ANYthing for fifteen days in a row. It feels good, I’m mostly pleased with what I have put “out there” so far, but when I was forced to step away yesterday it occurred to me that maybe I should be giving myself a break now and then. I actually spent the evening talking to my husband (imagine that!); typically after dinner is the only time I have all day when I can sit and listen and put my heart and mind and fingers to work.

It raised some issues that I am going to have to deal with, as I consider whether or how to continue a practice like this after Advent. I’ll need to evaluate (again, and again) my priorities, my time allowances, the appropriate level of commitment and energy to allot to all the things I need and want to do. And which ones are “needs” and which are “wants,” after all? Sometimes the delineation is not so clear…

So I considered going “back” to cover yesterday’s reading (hello, Ms. Type A, nice t’ see ya) but remembered (again) that this is not homework, not graded, and will not be counted against me if I am absent once or twice. Instead I am moving on to today’s text on Following the Star, and as soon as I read the text I was so glad I made that call! What a gift it is:

See what kind of love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God.

Yes! But especially this:

…what we will be has not yet appeared, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

The New King James Version says it this way: it has not yet been revealed what we shall be.

I feel such an overwhelming sense of relief at this truth… that (as with the whole purpose of Advent) we are not meant to be completed in this world and in our own time, but to be on the way, growing, becoming, so that when his Kingdom breaks through, and in the fullness of his Time, we can be revealed in him. I don’t need to feel anxious that I don’t know what or who I will be at some future, “finished” point, because that person, that self has not yet been revealed.

It puts all my questions into perspective. In fact, it gives me a context to help me ask better questions. Not: how do I find time to do everything I want to do? But: where am I truly being called? where am I growing? how do I best care for the resources, gifts, talents he has given me (including my husband and children; my physical body; my words; my art…)?

Not: who will I be when I grow up?

But: how will he be revealed in me? by the kind of parent that I am? the kind of spouse? the words I string together? the foods that I put in my mouth, and the ways I put muscle and bone into action?

What an incredible kind of love God must have for us, to call us his children. To want the best for us, to see us well and happy and thriving. To be interested and excited to see how we will turn out, who we’ll become.

I am amazed to think that God, like all parents, looks at us and tries to discern the ways we “take after” him!

“It is good to be children sometimes,” wrote Charles Dickens, “and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child himself.” It is, perhaps, even better to be children in Advent (as we are always, always in Advent), looking and hoping and waiting for the coming Christ to be revealed in this world. And in us.

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