IS IT STILL GOOD TO YOU?
How I did my own Honest Advent and Why I Think You Should Too
What stories are YOU telling yourself?
Our brains are synthesizing billions of data every day to help us determine what’s right or wrong for us, what’s good for us or bad, what to hang on to of value and what to let go, who we want to see more of, and who’s not worth the effort. These are all data bytes of information in our brains. Whether the information is the truth or not, it’s still stored in our brains as narratives.
They are the stories we tell ourselves.
Narratives are a normal part of the way our bodies function to help keep us safe and enable us to synthesize information quickly from our five senses to our brain and vice versa. Narratives are the by-product of proper wiring and biological circuitry that we get to live off of; they even affect our physical and intellectual make-up regardless of whether they are good, bad, or indifferent.
I mentioned the other day that I was doing my own Honest Advent this Christmas season and let me tell you, it has been mind-blowing! Here are the reasons why you should take at least 2 hours and 37 minutes this week to listen to the FREE Audible Audiobook BEFORE Christmas day to do your own Honest Advent. Artist Scott Erickson, the author of Honest Advent: Awakening to the Wonder of God-with-Us Then, Here, and Now finds himself drawn to exploring the history surrounding Jesus’ birth to determine in his own life what was happening to him. I know we talk about this a lot every Christmas, but who actually takes the time to check themselves? Moreover, who actually has the courage or curiosity even to become vulnerable like that? To lay yourself down and let God feel all up on you? Could the nostalgia around the Christmas season somehow sanitize and remove the essence of who Jesus is, and the wonder, Glory, and beauty that makes us who we are? And if we look for Him in our day today four days before Christmas, the birthday of Jesus, is He really attending his own birthday party with us? And how do we knowingly respond to something like this in our own lives first, and then lovingly respond and interact with so many others we may encounter who express a feeling of spiritual or emotional flatlining, loss or estrangement around this holiday season?
Not knowing what he would find in his own life, Erickson drew pictures of art or collected them in his own honest Advent. He started with exploring the narratives around the Annunciation and what he discovered was the secrets of how he felt and what had been lost and unappreciated because of the removal of the essence, wonder, humanity, and mystery of Jesus’ birth in favor of what has become all-too-familiar nostalgia. Has the sanitized version of the Christmas culture robbed you of the kingdom, power, and glory of God with us? Only you can answer that question for you. But here are the questions I found myself asking me from Erickson’s 25 pictures of artwork. This book is a super simple easy read as it gives pictures instead of many words. Literally, the book only takes 2 hours and 37 minutes listening to the FREE Audible version. The book happens to be used as a short textbook, part of the Bachelor’s of Science degree program at ELEVATION LIFE TRANSFORMATION UNIVERSITY: The University of Christ-Centered Coaching, Leadership, and Change – an affordable accelerated life-changing way to level up spiritually to impact your natural.
Starting with an honest look at what speaks to him in his artwork depiction of Advent, Erickson invites and challenges us to take our own journey through the familiar parts of the nativity scene starting with what God has given us in the angelic visit to Mary.
Could the young virgin Mary’s visitation give us more than what we have been told by culture?
Is it possible that exploring a familiar biological process – pregnancy – be anything but familiar?
What narratives have we formed that devalue the miracle of Christ?
How much of Jesus’ Advent is missed simply because of the men of history who shared the story with us? How did they capitalize on the opportunity for commerce and commercialization – selling stuff like they did in the temple – because as men they were unable to share the experience through the eyes of a young virgin?
Is the Christmas we know today removing our sensitivities to the truth of what happened?
How have you experienced Christmas? Through which of your five senses are you able to experience the essence of what happened? Or does your experience stop at the nostalgia around you at Christmas time?
What narratives have you unknowingly formed in your own mind and how did those narratives come to be?
What can you do about the narratives in your own life? In what ways do you reclaim the wonder and mystery of the King? How does your “Joy, Peace, and Goodwill towards all men” become incarnate? In what ways does all this play out during this season and every day in your own life?
Is it still good to you? Or has it become too familiar?
How is what the angel delivered REAL or ALIVE in your every day moment?
What is your own Annunciation and how has the announcing of Jesus played out in your NOW?
Dr. Merle Ray, The Brilliance Midwife, Mentor Coach, and Business Strategist
President & CEO