My daughter asked me last week what I wanted for Christmas. I put her off two or three times before finally saying, “Well, I could use some new spatulas.” The response to which was a classic teenage eye-roll and, “Mom, what do you want for Christmas.” The trouble is that I really don’t want or need anything. It’s different for kids, but most adults I know aren’t making two-page long lists of things they deeply desire to have for Christmas.
So, how then do we address the theme of “Desire” for this second week in Advent. I suggest we take it to a deeper level.
Advent is a spiritual time of looking within, not to beat ourselves up, but as a time of self-reflection and introspection. Last week we began this introspection by daring to look at the darkness within ourselves – those places we don’t like to touch or look at, much less let anyone else see. I believe that when we spend time getting to know our own darkness, and we begin to bring those shadow places to the light, we may often find that from the darkness springs desire. This desire is much deeper than our ego-desire, it is a desire of our hearts or our higher awareness. If we allow ourselves to go to this deeper place, we will find that the desire of our hearts and the desire of God is the same.
For example, if we find anger in the shadows of our consciousness, we may see that it is the desire of our ego to lash out in justified rage, or take revenge. But if we can look past that, we may find that it is our heart’s desire to let the anger go so that our life force is not spent feeding the negative energy within. Or, if we look inside and we find that we are incredibly insecure, our ego may seek to protect us by trying to prove to others that we are fine, or in control, or better than others. Our hearts, however, may desire to let go of our fears and reconnect with our beautiful authentic selves, to trust ourselves.
If we examine the darkness within and find fear and pain from being wounded and broken, we may begin to recognize that our ego-desire has been to protect us by burying those feelings and hiding them so that we won’t get hurt again. But the true desire of our hearts may be for healing.
Where are the desires of our hearts this Advent? Are they caught up in our egos and what they need or desire – recognition, appreciation, shows of approval, stuff? If so, can we recognize that and see where that comes from? Can we look beyond it to find the place where our desires intersect with God? Can we seek our healing, our wholeness? Can we express ourselves with kindness, generosity and love, unlaced with ulterior needs or motives?