Advent Word: Risk

I don’t think of myself as a risk taker, at least not in the traditional sense. Even as a child, my preferred playground equipment was a swing…without anyone pushing me. The most feared days of gym class were when the ropes and poles were extended and we were expected to climb towards the ceiling. Even as a teenager, I was so anxious at the thought of getting caught that trying to sneak around was out of the question.

At the same time, I sang solos at my school concerts, delivered speeches with ease, and never thought twice about befriending someone different than I was. Eventually, I would realize that I was comfortable in my own skin, and could be just as happy whether I was partnered or single. This made it possible for me to travel solo, to relocate across the country, and to seize opportunities for education that challenged and expanded my thoughts. Perhaps my mind and my spirit have more capacity for risk taking than my body.

Today, the advent word I am meditating on is this idea of “risk” in all its forms and manifestations. What I wish, during advent, is that we would open ourselves to the possibility of risk. Not risk for our own thrill-seeking, nor for a chance to rack up personal accomplishments. I wish that we could embody risk the way in which we greet each other as filled with divine potential.

During this season I often think about Mary, Jesus’ Mom. These days in which we celebrate Advent were her most holy…and risk filled…days of waiting. Her risk was a daily pattern of movement, nomadic wandering, inner hope. She risked trusting Divine Guidance, risked social sanction, and risked birthing and bonding with the incarnate gift of divine humanness that she wrapped in cloths, and held, and nursed. Her holy waiting is ours, too: we can take the risk to greet every human being as having been born in the likeness of God. We have to risk seeing that likeness of God, even if we are afraid, uncertain, or judgmental. Our reactions are human, but love that reaches beyond our boundaries of difference is divine.

Take that risk this advent. See the expectation of the incarnate all around. Be unafraid to nurture, and quick to forgive. It is a risk…a divine risk.

In response to the AdventWord global advent calendar project with the Society for St. John the Evangelist. Today’s word: #Risk. Follow the worldwide advent calendar at:

About harasprice

Professor of Social Work and Priest in The Episcopal Church, parent, teacher, learner, writer, advocate, and grateful traveller along this journey through life
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