There are only seven days left until Christmas, but there is still plenty of opportunity for Advent(uring).
What is Advent(uring)? It is diving into the melee of pre-Christmas crowds and sales clerks and postal workers and office parties and... in other words, diving into the craziness of what we are already enduring (at least for another week) and seeing what Jesus may be up to.
We are in the middle of it anyway. Why not look for what Jesus may be up to, as well? It's not that he is inactive during busy times like these, it's that we get distracted. So Advent(uring) is heading into the craziness and, while we're there, looking for the opportunities Jesus has prepared in advance for us to do. You just never know what Jesus may be up to! It's an Advent(ure)!
Example: yesterday I had to go to the Post Office to mail off some last minute book orders. I drove up to my local Post Office and the line was literally out the door. Great. And I had 9 packages. I know. I was THAT guy... the guy who is ahead of you in line with a bazillion boxes. You quietly groan to yourself.
With you in mind, I decided not to stand in line for live postal service. Instead I went to the automated service machine. There was only one woman in front of me. Unfortunately she didn't know how to work the machine. Great. And she had EIGHT packages. Now I'm the one groaning under my breath.
Thankfully, I was ready for an Advent(ure). What might Jesus be up to here?
Because I ship a lot of books, I have used this machine many times. It can be confusing because of all the questions it needs to ask the customer. But once you catch the logic of it, it is really pretty easy. So when I saw the woman struggling (and becoming visibly embarrassed) I began gently suggesting which buttons to push and how to correct her mistakes. Soon she caught on. And although it had taken several minutes to do her first couple transactions, the last several were done in no time.
She was relieved and thankful and her face turned from a worried frown to a big smile. Advent(uring)! I didn't get to preach the Good News to her, but I did get to plant a small seed of good in her life. And you just never know what Jesus may do with that seed.
So now it was finally my turn for the machine. Nine boxes. And wouldn't you know it, when I glanced behind me, I saw another customer who only needed a few stamps. So I invited him to go ahead of me. Guess what. Yep. He didn't know how to work the machine either. So I helped him.
He left relieved and smiling, as well. I was starting to enjoy standing at the machine and helping stressed customers regain their joy. Advent(uring)!
So while I was on a roll, I let the next man go ahead of me, too. He only had one package. Piece of cake. He noticed my boxes of books and noticed I had a vague resemblance to the picture of the author on the back of the book. He said, "Did you write these books?" "Yes, sir," I said, "Would you like a copy? I'd be happy to give you one. Consider it a Christmas gift." Turns out his name is Baldo and he was ripe and ready for "Joining Jesus," too. Who would have guessed?
I came to a busy Post Office to mail nine boxes. Jesus brought me to the Post Office to be a part of the good he had prepared in advance for these three people.
It' called Advent(uring). And there's still plenty of opportunities before Christmas for you to play, too.
You just never know...
[A special thank you to Rev. Mark Dahn who first used the word Advent(uring) in an email to me!]