Wednesday, December 03, 2008

How not to get caught: a family Advent time

We divide up these readings for an evening time around our Advent wreath.

Light the first Advent candle and sing one of our Advent songs.

Read "How to Catch a Monkey."

"If what we have
we believe we have gotten,
and if what we have
we believe we must hold onto,
and if what we have
is not available to others,
then we will live in anxiety.

"Such persons will never know simplicity
regardless of the outward contortions they may put themselves through
in order to live “the simple life.” –Celebration of Discipline
Another old Sunday School illustration: have you ever had somebody ask you to fill a jar with unshelled walnuts and rice? If you put the rice into the jar first and then try to put the walnuts on top, they don’t fit. But if you put the walnuts in first, the rice fills in the space around them, and then everything fits.

"The goal of simplicity is to seek the kingdom of God and the righteousness of his kingdom first, and then everything necessary will come in its proper order….

"It can’t be about just wanting to get away from the noise and the “rat race.”

"It can’t be about giving things up just so that we can spread things out more fairly among rich countries and poor countries, rich people and poor people.

"It can’t be just about saving the earth.

"But: when the kingdom of God is genuinely placed first, ecological concerns, the poor, the fair distribution of wealth, and many other things will be given their proper attention.

"And just because you don’t have much doesn’t mean that you’re truly living in
simplicity. Paul taught us that the love of money is the root of all evil, and often those who have it the least love it the most. It is possible for a person to be living simply on the outside and to be filled with anxiety on the inside." (adapted from Celebration of Discipline)

When our Apprentice was little, we read two picture books that showed both of those different attitudes. One was Journey Cake Ho! by Ruth Sawyer. The old man in the story liked to say, “A bother, a pest! All work and no rest! Come winter, come spring, Life’s a nettlesome thing.” When times get hard, he and his wife send their hired boy off on his own because “what will feed two won’t feed three.”

The other book was Good Times on Grandfather Mountain. "When his cow, Blanche Wisconsin, jumps the fence and runs away, Old Washburn whittles the useless milk pail into a milk bucket drum. When the raccoons sneak in at night and eat every ear of sweet corn, he makes corn cob whistles. And when a fierce mountain storm causes the worst misfortune of all by blowing his cabin down, he finds the wood for a new fiddle. And the new fiddle starts one of the "best times" on Grandfather Mountain." (from the author's website)
"Freedom from anxiety is characterized by three inner attitudes.
If what we have
we receive as a gift,
and if what he have
is to be cared for by God,
and if what we have
is available to others,
then we will possess freedom from anxiety.
This is the inward reality of simplicity."--Celebration of Discipline

Blow out the candle and read the Advent Prayer posted on Beck's Bounty.

1 comment:

Beck's Bounty said...

I will look for those titles you mentioned.

God Bless.