Advent, Decisions and Temptation
Decisions bring temptation. They test us and make us. Two options are laid before us. We have to choose one or the other. One leads to life, one leads to death.
Decisions Form Character
As we make decisions, our character is formed. God is with us, Emmanuel, in this decision-making. There are opportunities for grace and discovering how wonderful God is. Making a decisions builds our habits. Habits then are like riverbanks for our character - the habits direct the path our life takes.
Temptations and Generosity
As a nation and a world decisions line before us. Do we maintain a good overseas aid budget, do we invest in vaccines for those overseas? Or do we put all our efforts into sorting our own problems out.
Generosity would make us all safer. We are not safe until all are safe. Nation-building overseas can enrich us all, avoiding the need for so many to flee their own nation, in turn enabling those who would otherwise flee to enrich their own nation. Generosity to those granted asylum would enable them to contribute all the more quickly to the life of their new communities and homes as they are empowered to use their skills and takents.
Short-term self-interest makes us miss the better outcome.
Are we generous to refugees or do we respond in fear? Wise generosity brings about better outcomes for everyone.
Generosity would mean an enriched nation. But it would take time and a properly resourced asylum system.
Climate change is upon us. A Parliamentary Committee said that the UK is leading the world in principle, but that in practice we are not doing well at all. Our children will pay the price. Are we willing to invest in their futures?
Making Hard Decisions
Are we willing to make the hard decisions that will safeguard our futures?
Generosity Benefits the Generous One
We live in a universe built on the foundation of love. As we are generous we are putting ourselves into the stream of what God is doing. We so discover God's generosity as we trust in God and are prepared to wait for the love of God which is always on the move towards us (Advent means Coming).
Temptation and Impatience
Many wrong decisions are taken because we are impatient. Selfishly we demand our needs are met immediately. Advent is a time when we learn to wait. People of faith waited a long time for Christ to come into the world. Are we willing to wait?
Is this selfishness?
There may be a temptation to think that by being generous we earn God's favour. But it doesn't work like that. Rather, as we delight in other people we will grow in generosity. And that delight and generosity brings its own rewards. God will make sure of that, though like Jesus, we may have to wait until after death to experience them.
Advent: Learning to Wait for the Generosity of God
As children we learn the gain of deferred gratification. Can we learn the same as adults - learn to wait. In our decisions let us learn that waiting and trust in God lead to great blessing. For God is always generous in love. Let us resist the temptation to want everything "now". Let us await the generosity of God.
And so the Chocolate...
If you have an Advent Calendar, may be there is a daily chocolate. Perhaps this could become a reminder of the reward of waiting. What might this mean to me and you today in the tasks of this coming week? Let generosity reign - it will bring its own rewards, far greater than chocolate.