Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall! —Matthew 7:24–27
Jesus uses the metaphor of building a house on a solid foundation to describe those who hear and act on the word of God. His story sounds a bit silly on the surface. Who would build a house on shifting sand? We would never make this mistake in our actual homes, and yet we do it so often in our spiritual and emotional lives. It’s easy to be pulled and pushed about by the next new thing and we don’t always take time to anchor it to our core beliefs. We buy into the latest self-help craze and forget that our help comes from God. Sudden tragedy or disaster can threaten to knock us off our foundation or knock that foundation out from under us. No people or institutions are as solid and dependable as God.
Advent reminds us that the One who has come into the world and is always coming into our lives in new ways is the source of our salvation. We don’t need novelty and “magic bullet” solutions to our concerns. We simply need to return again and again to the rock-solid foundation of our lives: God and God alone. The mystery of the Incarnation is that by entering into our time and into our world, Jesus can show us the way to the gift that is beyond all time.
It can be hard to remember this when the storms of life hit unexpectedly. Using the season of Advent as a time to cultivate a deeper prayer life will help us with our spiritual emergency preparedness kit. We will have deeply rooted routines that can kick in when powers we depend on fail—as they all will at one time or another.
TAKE A DEEP BREATH
Reflect on these words from the prophet Isaiah as you sit quietly with your breathing today: Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock. (Isaiah 26:4)
A SIMPLE GIFT
It’s easy to take on too much at this time of year and forget why we’re doing what we’re doing. We find ourselves overwhelmed, drowning in anxiety and debt. Take a look at your to-do list. It has a way of getting out of control this time of year. Learn to say no to some things so you can be fully present to those things to which you say yes.