You're on your front steps at the end of a date, and your date goes in for a kiss. It's been a wonderful date and you're excited to feel the softness of their lips on yours. You have an idea of what the perfect kiss is. Your lips touch your date's lips and it's just not what you expected. Maybe if would have been okay, if you'd let go of your expectations. But you didn't, and now the wonderful evening is sullied by a lackluster kiss.
Advent is a season of anticipation. It's those moments before the kiss, when all the hope of the glory to come is felt in every fiber of our being. It’s the time for Christians to tap into the “not yet” part of the “already and not yet” paradox of God's Kingdom here on Earth.
As you wait for some thing, whether it be a kiss, or Christ's birth at Christmas, you tend to project onto it all the things you assume it will be like. Through these projections you're attempting to control the moment. As a result you can’t love what’s really there.
What’s the opposite of control? Surrender. You have to let yourself be vulnerable to what’s really there, which means you surrender your power to control the moment through your projections--and the actions that are grounded in your projections. You let the other (the dessert, the lover, etc.) be what it truly is, in that moment. The spaciousness you offer the other to be what it is, is love.
When it comes to Advent, we get four weeks to both consider, and work to dissipate, our assumptions and projections about who is the Christ we’ll meet on Christmas. Just as the Jews in Jesus’ time had to surrender their assumptions that the Messiah would literally overturn the government, we have to surrender our assumptions that the way God wants the world is for it to be only butterflies and rainbows. God embraces the messiness; loves the messiness; is found precisely in the messiness. If God didn’t love it, the world wouldn’t contain messiness. And Christ? Christ isn’t some out there far from us thing. Christ is in us and all of creation. Christ is with us in each moment. And Christ works in the world through creation, through our actions.
I’m going to invite you to do three exercises in the two weeks left before Christmas:
Write down all the things you think God is. (and if you don’t believe in God, write about the God you don’t believe in—who doesn’t exist anyway) Ex
: God is Love
Write down all the things God is not. Ex: God is unknowable; God isn’t a man in the sky
Then sit with those two lists. Hold them in your consciousness as you leave room for something else, something beyond your projections to arise. Don’t label it. Just notice.
But isn't this site supposed to be about sex, too, not just God? Exactly. So, finally, do the same exercise with a partner if you have one—or with your idea of what an ideal partner would be if you don’t currently have one; or if you don’t want a partner, you can do the same exercise regarding yourself.
What qualities does your partner have?
What qualities do they not have?
Invite your partner to come and sit with you and just hold space for you to receive who they are in this moment, without your expectations. If you can do that—surrender to the reality of who they are today, right now, giving up your control. Then you are practicing love.
And since Christ is in you and in your partner, you're inviting Christ to be present just as Christ is, sans assumptions, projections, attempts at control. You're learning to surrender.