Junkyard Advent (Sunday #1)

Today’s Advent reading:

…now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.—Romans 13:11-12

Word of the Day: emulous – Seeking to emulate someone or something.

I woke up thinking about Advent. I really did. My hope is to do my best to honor this season of waiting and anticipation, although to be honest its felt adventy since what, March, April? Waiting and anticipating some kind of change in our world, for something to be over and something else to take its place. Some people would say, “Well, Advent a different kind of waiting,” and while that’s true, waiting is still waiting, and some people will say anything simply to be contrary.

So, first thing out of bed I read the reading for the first Sunday of Advent, which felt true because Paul wrote about waking up out of sleep, getting up and getting busy putting on the armour of light. Yes, that’s the alternate spelling of “armor” but I like it because “armor” feels all serious and grey and heavy and hard to breathe in while “armour” (which I pronounce ar-moor) feels lighter and slightly sophisticated, like your skin or a British ninja.

Then my email dinged with the Word of the Day, and like a lab rat, I checked it. Emulous – “seeking to emulate someone or something.” And having a junkyard mind, always picking through the remains of the day, I held emulous for a moment and wondered how it might fit in this first Sunday of Advent. Now at first blush it’s easy for those verses in Romans are urging me to be emulous of Paul who was urging us to be emulous of Jesus who is at the top of Mount Emulous. But I’m rather fond of the second blush, so I held emulous a little longer and thought “Hey, that word sounds a lot like immolate” which immediately took my mind to the book I’m reading titled Nothing to See Here which is about two twins, Roland and Bessie, who when agitated burst into flames (btw, I’m loving the book so far).

So, I kept standing there in the junkyard, turning today’s Advent reading plus the Word of the Day plus the word that the Word of the Day reminded me of, around in my mentally calloused hands and I had this thought which I now share with you. Far too often I’m afraid we think emulating Jesus via Paul is this serious, grey, heavy, hard to breathe in kind of living which feels restrictive, like having to don some kind of armor every morning when we wake from sleep when it seems to me what Jesus parachuted down into our world for is something entirely different and far from an “armor” the offer is an “ar-moor,” like your skin, like your very self, like you, and if you can shuck off all the burdensome crap that this world tries to weigh you down with then the result is that you live a little like someone who is constantly bursting into flame throughout the day but not in a way that does harm, as it does at times in the lives of Roland and Bessie, but rather in a lighter and attractively sophisticated way where people take notice of your glimmeringness in our current dark and gloomy, pandemicky wanked out political world. Advent is about light, not dark. Light, not heavy.




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  1. Elizabeth Giger on November 29, 2020 at 9:42 am

    This is simply light-filled. Thank you for your words – always, but especially these words today. Thank you for your glimmeringness.

  2. Paula Champion Jones on November 29, 2020 at 10:09 am


  3. Susan on November 29, 2020 at 10:34 am


  4. Valerie Ronald on November 29, 2020 at 11:08 am

    Was there ever a light like what Jesus brought when He came? If we can glimmer this light to others then Advent happens all year round. Thanks, John.
    I’ll be meditating on this all day long.

  5. Jacky on November 29, 2020 at 11:12 am


  6. Carolyn on November 29, 2020 at 11:13 am

    Amen, brother! May we burst into flames so that Jesus’ light is seen in our world.

  7. Gwen Acres on November 29, 2020 at 11:21 am

    Thank you John for this light. As a Canadian I enjoy seeing armour along with honour, neighbour and the like. ?

  8. Michele on November 29, 2020 at 7:54 pm


  9. Diane on November 30, 2020 at 8:15 am

    I initially started to read through this post with some hesitation as you seemingly “got off track” in the mental junkyard, but at the end I was hollering (in my mind) “YES!!!!” Your mental meandering resulted in a rather ‘Heavy’- as in PROFOUND- truth that I fear too many followers of Christ have forgotten- that HE came to set us FREE- not ‘free’ to live without thought or concern for others, but FREE- as in set free to live as if we had been sitting on death row and had our sentence commuted! (‘Cause that’s EXACTLY what he did!). I pray that the ‘glimmeringness’ that others see in me points to HIM, and hopefully will lead them to enjoy a lighter life as well- as another comment said- “all year round” NOT just during Advent!
    One question, though- was this revelation before or after your morning cuppa coffee? 🙂 I only ask because I, too have often had such rambling revelations- sometimes with a caffeinated boost, and sometimes from the exact opposite. But either way they are often as simply deep as your conclusion. 🙂

  10. jody collins on November 30, 2020 at 5:53 pm

    Oh my goodness…….thank you for taking us through the ramblings of your morning and words in various forms. I began by laughing out loud and in the end was fist bumping the air. Thank you, John.

  11. TS on January 13, 2021 at 11:06 pm

    That is such a delightful little book. I wonder where Lillian fits in the metaphor.

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