Advent, A Time to Yield
Advent, A Time to Yield
By Katie Mosley
The smell of fresh bread envelopes our house again. My Sunday ritual of slowly folding flour, yeast, and water invites peace and calm to the loud holiday frenzy. I welcome the quiet gladly. The moment draws near as I knead the once shaggy dough into its smooth, elastic form.
The time for yielding. I have found the practice of yielding inevitable in my years of bread baking -- surrendering my two working hands for the bread to rest and rise on its own.
Yielding to dough requires me to take a step back. To give it spacious warm air for growing. It is absolutely necessary for cultivating good bread. Although I have been doing this for a long time, it is never easy to step away -- to relinquish control and trust that this will work once again on its own.
I refuse yielding because of impatience, fear, and selfishness. I impatiently want my freshly baked bread now and do not want to wait for it. I fear that somewhere in the middle of mixing warm water and sugar to activate the yeast that something went wrong, and it will not turn out. I selfishly would prefer to say that the success of this bread was all my doing, but often it is left up to chance and circumstances that are out of my control.
Yielding forces me to admit these three things:
- There is nothing more that I️ can do; I️ am unable to finish the task alone or at all. I️ must surrender.
- I️ have to put my trust in something or someone other than myself and believe that without me, whatever is happening will keep on working.
- I will not receive the credit, which can often be an issue for my larger-than-life ego.
Yielding means I remove myself from the equation -- an incredibly hard task for women, particularly around the holidays. We often cling to control in this season like it brings us life and joy, but it is a toxic weed that only offers death and despair.
My fingers sink into dough again and again, as I continue preparations. I can hear His faint whisper.
Sweet Daughter, now is the time to yield more than ever.
Now. Right now? My husband and I are hosting our first Thanksgiving meal this year, so now’s not the best time, God. My husband only has two days off at the hospital around Christmastime, so I need to be in charge of getting all the gifts, God. And the decorating, God. I will yield when it is done, God.
It is done.
It is done? It. Is. Done.
My God was nailed to a tree. It is done. My God was raised from the dead. It is done. My God yielded to living life behind the human lens. It is done.
My. God. Yielded. My God yielded to being human? Maybe I should yield to being human, too.
Advent marks the beginning of the church year, as well as the beginning of God’s yielding. Don’t misinterpret me, His plan was always intact. He was, is, and will be in control. The birth of Christ is an example to us -- the Second Person of the Holy Trinity yielding to the First, Our Father.
Philippians 2:5-7 should sober our unyielding hearts-“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”
Christ came to earth to make way for salvation, ultimately allowing the Third Person, the Holy Spirit, to be available us. Advent sets this in motion: God in His complete fullness, as Triune, three Persons in One God, available to us. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
It is a season where we are invited into the already perfect relationship of these three Persons. A season of the most joyous celebration and expectation: Emmanuel. God is with us.
Today, as I step back from my bread, I am reminded to adopt this attitude during the Advent season. To yield. To watch. To wait. Expectantly. Watching, waiting, and expecting is all God requires as we anticipate the coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
This Advent season, consider every Sunday sharing in Communion as a time to yield to the fullness of God. The only effort i️t should take for me to get the bread is standing in line waiting for i️t.
In the Catholic tradition, priests often physically lay bread on the tongue and pour wine into the mouths of believers to symbolize that partaking in Christ is a complete yielding -- a complete removal of self. This yielding allows us to participate in God fully, who is complete in just Himself. Through the Eucharist, we are filled with the love of the Father, the humility of Jesus Christ, and the discernment of the Holy Spirit. We yield to the Trinity as they yield to one another.
As you take Communion… as you bake bread… or cookies… or turkey… or entertain guests… or decorate trees, remember to yield and make room for Christ. Our Savior is here. Sweet Daughter, now is the time to yield more than ever.
Holy Father -- this holiday season give me more courage to yield. To yield to you. To yield to family and friends. To give my hands and heart less doing, and more being in full communion with You, as You have allowed it through the coming of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Give me more watching. More waiting. More expecting for Him to come in human body and in full glory. Amen.