December 22nd: What Rules?

When I’m working with people in my coaching work, a question I’ve often lifted up is, “What rules?”

I don’t usually ask it in that kind of way, but rather say something like, “Is your calendar ruling you, or are you setting your calendar?”

“Are you playing defense all the time, or are you on offense?”

In Advent the church today calls out to the Messiah, “O Ruler of the Nations, Come!”

If you ask most humans, I think they’d tell you that they don’t like to be ruled. And yet, we’re all under some sort of rule. We work hard to keep up with the Joneses. We work hard to pad that bank account. We let insults and failed relationships dominate the limited free space in our minds. We pine for things we want and are neglectful of the things we need.

The numbers on the scale. The numbers on the stock market. The names we’re called…and the ones we call others. We’re all ruled by something.

It’s funny that usually the ones who scream “Don’t Tread on Me!” through their bumper-stickers and yellow-flags are so ruled by their ideology that they can’t see the irony…

We’re all ruled by something, Beloved.

What are you ruled by?

In our Advent waiting, watching, and wondering, as we cozy up our homes for an unexpected guest, it’s also an opportune time to uninvite some guests from the party. Like, perhaps it’s a good day, as we’re so near Christmas, to uninvite that thing that has been steering your rudder in this season.

Or, perhaps, every season.

Because, for as much as we don’t like rulers and yet we’re all ruled by something, we do need a governing force in our being, Beloved. We do. We need a moral compass. We need banks to the river of life, and this is, I think, what the church cries out for today when it’s at its best: some guidance.

Because all those other things that rule our lives make us feel crazy most of the time.

And we’re not crazy. We’re just, well, poorly governed.

Today we cry out for a new leadership in our being. How would you rather be ruled, Beloved?

Dream a bit about it today. It’s possible. At least, in the season of Advent, we hope it is.

And while you’re dreaming, throw on Counting Crow’s “Long December” and wonder how, “next year will be better than the last…”

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