The Attentive Life

“The secret of waiting is the faith that the seed has been planted, that something has begun.  Active waiting means to be fully present to the moment, in the conviction that something is happening where you are and that you want to be present to it.  A waiting person is someone who is present to the moment, who believe that this moment.”  Henri  Nouwen

Waiting is a major theme of the Advent season.  Advent waiting, however, is a different kind of waiting than what we are used to.  It is an active waiting. It is waiting with a sense of promise. 

Simeon (Luke 2) is one of my favorite, if not my favorite, Biblical character.  If you’ve not read the scriptural account of this man, take time today and find a quiet place and re-read the story of this incredible account of a well-trained heart.

Simeon waited all his life for the “fullness of time.”  The most tragic thing would be if he missed it; if somehow he grew tired to looking…tired of waiting…tired of being disappointed everyday when the Messiah didn’t show up. But he didn’t.

For Simeon, life in the Spirit was an on-going , interactive (“It had been revealed to him by the Spirit; Guided by the Spirit we went…”,) authentic reality. So when the promise was given that he would see the Messiah before he died, Simeon’s heart became fully engaged to that promise and each moment became alive with expectation. Incredibly, when the Messiah did show up, in the most unexpected and ordinary way, Simeon did not miss that sacred moment.  For long before that moment, living in attentive, spacious responsiveness to the Spirit had become a way of living.  Long before the fulfillment of the Promise, he relinquished control to make anything happen, allowing God to come as he wished.

Don’t miss what God is doing because you think it should look a certain way.

We too, like Simeon, can orient our souls to the nuances of the Spirit and experience this kind of on-going spiritual vitality in our days.  Then we won’t spend our days missing what God is doing but become active participants in the Kingdom.

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