Watch for the Light

“The spiritual Experience, whether it be of faith, hope or love, is something we cannot manufacture, but which we can only receive.” Philip Britts, “Yielding to God,” Watch for the Light, p. 111-112. Plough 2001.

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Watch for the Light is a daily reading for Advent and Christmas by some of the best-known spiritual writers, Bonhoeffer, Dillard, Donne, Eliot, Hopkins, Kierkegaard, L’Engle, Lewis, Luther, Merton, Norris, Nouwen, Underhill, Yancy and many others. The short essays are three to five pages long making this an Advent and Christmas reading that will take fifteen to thirty minutes to read and digest. This is a daily reading where we decide to devote a little more time to our Advent meditation with some of the most beloved spiritual writers. I am a major underliner, so I went back through the book to look for the most underlined essay. It was difficult since there were many underlined passages in every writing. One favorite was the essay “Yielding to God,” by the British poet, Philip Britts. Britts writes that Mary’s example for us of “let it be with me according to your word,” is the essence of the Christmas story. Jesus is conceived out of surrender and born not out of “the head of Zeus” like Athena, but in a lowly stable with all the animals and the cold and the dirt.

Britts writes that Christ was born into poverty to heal the poverty of our hearts. Christ did not come as a moral tune up or as self-improvement guru or spiritual teacher. He came to show that the same breakthrough can occur in our hearts today just as “ the word becoming flesh” changed the world over 2000 years ago.