What does ” Abundant Life” mean to you?

Today’s Quote: ” Abundant Life means venturing beyond the corral”++ Katharine Jefferts-Schori.

It is Advent & all around us we see advertisements bombarding our eyes & ears with must-have stuff”. This Wall Street madness started before Halloween & will { no doubt} continue until after Christmas Day. Best Dude & I watch TV on some evenings & it never ceases to amaze me how many inane commercials beckon consumers to find the ” perfect Christmas gift{s}” at ____________ department store. Ugh.

But in my opinion, the worst offenders are the auto commercials. I want to know just who are the car companies targeting this season? The economy is a mess & so many people are without jobs. Those people with jobs must deal with rising costs in necessities such as food, shelter,clothing & medical care. No one but the upper 1 percent of Americans have enough capital to finance a new car for someone’s Christmas. As the youth say now { I guess} give me some *real talk*! Last evening I was viewing the Steelers’ game on prime-time TV & I lost count of how many car commercials I avoided…}

Thank goodness for muting buttons on the TV remote, as I will wear out that button this season silencing commercials. :O)

What do we really need in order to have ” abundant life”?

Jesus tells His followers that in order to follow Him, they should sell ALL their possessions. Yup. While most Christians do not take these words of our Lord literally, I’ll suggest that perhaps ” abundant life” for we Christians should not be about the acquisition of more ” stuff”. Abundant life should be measured in that which is literally priceless.

During Lent, 2011 I focused my prayer life on contentment. Each day I spent my prayer time asking God how I can grow closer to God by not denying myself yet not coveting mere things.Naturally I like nice things too, yet God has shown me that a rich, abundant life can be measured in relationships.

My life has become more abundant through service to others in my parish in my role as coordinator for Family Ministries. Along with my rector & an awesome group of adult volunteers, we’ve started our own Episcopal Youth Community at Small Parish. Although I recently ” retired” {again} from teaching children’s Sunday School,my life has been even more enriched by the time I spent teaching three amazing little boys.

I’m also abundantly blessed by two teens whom I’ve known since they were 5 and 4 years old, respectively. I’d worked as these siblings’ babysitter for several summers when their parents both worked all day. Although I’ve not spent time with these two teens since they’ve grown up they still are important to me & we keep in touch via Facebook. The are growing into fine young people & I am so proud of them.

The advertising industy might want us to believe that ” abundant life” can be bought but I challenge myself to venture out of my comfort zone { My ” corral”} & seek to make a difference in the lives of those around me . Building relationships is NOT my forte–but the challenge of getting to know people brings me unfathomable riches.

This week, look to get out of your corral. Try a new ministry, interact in a positive way with people who do not subsribe to the same cultural norms as you. Take time to learn about different people in all age groups. Listen to today’s children & youth, don’t just *talk at* them.

Find abundant life by giving of yourself this Advent.

Amen.

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