Ours is a great responsibility not to waste this Advent​ time

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Advent begins…

The gospels are full of waiting people, waiting with promise. Waiting is active, which means we are fully present in the moment. Trusting that something is happening deep in our God-given promise.

Henri Nouwen writes ‘Waiting is essential to the spiritual life. But waiting as a disciple of Jesus is not an empty waiting. We are always waiting, but it is waiting in the conviction that we have already seen God’s footsteps. Waiting for God is an active, alert – yes, joyful – waiting.’

The thrill of HOPE

I am reminded of the hope we have in Christ, who is HOPE, and how this sacred season is perfect for our hearts to awaken. Advent reminds me to stop, to breathe, to wait to wonder, to look, to yearn, to anticipate. Let us join in with the candle lighters, the life declarers, and the hope bringers – believing that God sent his only son as a babe and He made his home on earth and it all fell into place.

Advent is about a bigger picture. It’s about our eyes being opened spiritually, our ears hearing a new sound. To Emmanuel – God with us. How many of us are weary in the waiting, the wondering, and worrying? Advent is not the same old same old.  Advent is a time of change, let us spend time looking at the areas in our lives to be redeemed, recognizing what is holding us in its power

or

maybe catching a tiny spark of wonder, the newest of realizations, or the joy of transformation.

“Advent, like its cousin Lent, is a season for prayer and reformation of our hearts. Since it comes at winter time, fire is a fitting sign to help us celebrate Advent…If Christ is to come more fully into our lives this Christmas, if God is to become really incarnate for us, then fire will have to be present in our prayer. Our worship and devotion will have to stoke the kind of fire in our souls that can truly change our hearts. Ours is a great responsibility not to waste this advent time” Fire of Advent. Edward Hays, A Pilgrim’s Almanac, 

YOU are loved and I pray that God, the source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Love, Michelle xo

 

 

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Advent*urous thoughts.

Hi all. I’ve missed you! We have just completed another wonderful Living Nativity at our church. When thousands enter into what is the ‘Kelowna tradition’ and experience the nativity, Bethlehem village, live mannequins and yumlish treats.

1476243_697943840230508_696441835_nAngelic Beauty – ChadPerryPhotography

1454684_697952596896299_279524062_nMy Bella the mannequin – ChadPerryPhotography

1426136_697944203563805_1200221222_nWise Guys – ChadPerryPhotography

This year we introduced a prayer tree… to witness our local community lining up to pin their prayers on the tree was beautiful. We pray life and hope and a resounding Amen over those prayers and the courage it took to write them.

 ‘The thrill of hope.’

I’m trying to be clever and think of something different to write about, a different advent angle.

Because everything I read says the same thing.

Over and over.

The same message.

It tells me to stop, to breathe, to wait to wonder, to look, to yearn, to anticipate.

That there is hope, there is light.

And the more I read the more I realize of course the message is loud.

It’s the clearest it has ever been.

It is the most wonderful time of the year!

So I will join the advent people because there is no place I’d rather be.

The candle lighters, the life declarers, the hope bringers.

Because I believe that God sent his only son as a babe and He made his home on earth and it all fell into place.

All of this – advent is about a bigger picture. This time. This waiting.

It’s about our eyes being opened spiritually, our ears hearing a new sound. To Emmanuel – God with us.

 ‘O come, O come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel.’

How many of us are weary in the waiting, the wondering and worrying?

Let us use this time of advent to focus on our messes and say Emmanuel – I cannot do this, inviting Him into the places where decay has spread beyond the box in our hearts where we have hidden the mess.

Advent is not the ‘same old same old’.  Advent is a time of change.

Let us  spend advent looking at the areas in our lives to be redeemed, recognizing what is holding us in its power.

Take a moment to pray…

‘Emmanuel. God with us. With me. What do you want to say to me?’

IMG_3795.JPGJosiah the firestarter.

It could be tiny spark of wonder, the newest of realizations, or the wonder of transformation. He wants to answer you.

So that when Dec 25th arrives  – you can say ‘I am changed.’

‘The weary world rejoices.’

This weekend I experienced my boy disappearing in Walmart for the longest 15 minutes OF.MY.LIFE. I have never seen so many potential kidnappers during that time. ‘Code Adam’ bought Josiah back holding a couple of DVDs which he’d like to add to his list. With a familiar hand waving gesture of my father, Josiah decided he’d looked long and hard for me, and that it was me who was lost. He wants Smurfs 2 don’t cha know?

Also, I saw: more sickness, my poetry module arrive, cabin fever, the making of lip scrub, living nativity mannequin prep, the booking of flights, the not wrapping up warm enough. Homesickness. The traffic, the busy, the lost teenager arriving because she had nowhere to go, the homeless saying thank you, Josiah asking why, the presents list added to (again). The ski hill experienced, overdue homework complete, another dinner prepared. The smoothing of my edgy soul as I chatted to a faraway friend.

I saw…and felt -20 therefore I saw a fire roaring, and, and, and….

We all have similar stories of busy, and I know for some it’s more than busy – it’s dark, it’s painful,  it’s a desert, and you feel trapped, defeated.

But let us try and find our moment to breathe the words.

O come, O come Emmanuel.’

……..

‘But if you concentrate just for an instant, far off in the deeps of yourself somewhere you can feel the beating of your heart. For all its madness and lostness, not to mention your own, you can hear the world itself holding its breath.’ Frederick Buechner.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. Whoever puts his trust in God’s Son will not be lost but will have life that lasts forever. John 3:16

Are you ready for your redemptive advent*ure?

Love, Michelle xo

Advent*ure

Advent*ure

A wintery week in the lives of Collins clan.

I received my first Urban Harvest order and enjoyed cooking some veggie delights from the box. First of all a fave of mine, Jamie Oliver’s Parsnip and Ginger soup. You have to try it!

Secondly, Celeriac and Carrot soup. Very good too. Celeriac – the unsung hero of the vegetable world, a rather ugly looking thing, but get below the surface. You’ll be surprised.

Did I just talk recipes on my blog.

Maybe not atypical after all?

Advent*ure

An introduction to Witopia. Our new VPN service, encrypted access to the Internet. For me this means one joyous fact which has changed our lives for good.

BBC iPlayer.

Enough said eh Brits?

Advent*ure

The Collins clan enjoyed their first ski of the season. An early opening of Big White tying in with a Friday off school…perfect. We were packed up and ready for an overnight stay at the hill. Yet again managing to look like we were emigrating. I wonder if that will ever change? First thing in the morning we geared up and successfully made our way to the chairlift. Phil led us to the higher lift which unnerved me as I prefer to break in gradually you know. So off Phil and Josiah went. Trusting us to make our way. Off go the twins. Leaving just me and Bella.

Timing is everything. Sadly this time, timing was not…on time.

Not quite making it through the gate, it closed on me rather harshly, knocking me flying across the ground. ‘Stop the lift, stop the lift’ I hear them holler. In addition to the chairlift halting, I find I am tangled up in myself like some skiing contortionist.
I look at the friendly Australian, smile and ask for a hand. ‘No worries’ he says as he hoists me up.

I couldn’t look back at the cool, oh so trendy and no doubt laughing snowboarders behind me….

I know if I were them I’d have probably fallen over laughing myself.

I pray all the way that I don’t fall off at the top.

To complete the scenario. There they are, my skiing family, waiting for me.  All smiles. Oblivious to my ordeal.

Phil says ‘Well, that was easy wasn’t it?’

‘Hmmmm’

Advent*ure

We saw our 20th anniversary of Living Nativity this weekend. 7781 visitors came to Willow Park to see the show, the live mannequins, Bethlehem town. Our church community work so hard to ensure an amazing event takes place. Living Nativity. We see how the community loves it. We know the favour of God on it.

We aim to bless every life and story that walks through our doors.

‘Let there be light’

Advent*ure

Phil and I got to hang out at our Seniors Banquet this week. So lovely to sit with these people and their wealth of wisdom.

Looking at a sparkling lady Phil asks ‘So what advice do you give me, I’ve got twins just about to turn 13’

‘Hmmmm, well I only had 6 kids so I might not be the one to ask’ she winks.

‘Love and laugh, love and laugh’ she says.

Advent*ure

Today I went X Country skiing. Another one off my 40for40 list. I loved it!

Up 33 we drove to the Nordic Trails. Out of the fog into the clear air and skies.

And breathe.

I was reminded again as I skied. Look up Michelle. Don’t miss the beauty around you. The life!

‘I pray the way is clear before you this Advent season’