First and foremost I want to explain the word kenosis.  Wikipedia explains it as:

In Christian theology, kenosis is the concept of the 'self-emptying' of one's own will and becoming entirely receptive to God and the divine will. It is used both as an explanation of the Incarnation, and an indication of the nature of God's activity and will.

So last week I asked you to remember how as a child you felt about anticipating Santa's arrival... this week, how did you feel when you found out the truth about Santa? If you're anything like me I was devastated.  Santa to me was a role model of giving to others without expecting anything in return (well, maybe some cookies and milk, but that seems minor when you think of all he left behind).  As a child I wanted to go work for Santa, can you imagine working at a job where your whole goal is to bring joy to others!?! That's what I wanted to do, but alas it's not real... or is it?

In this weeks video Bishop Hying shares with us that Jesus' life and ministry was about serving others.  Jesus gave to others the gift of His time and attention, His presence to those who were the least in society.  Can you imagine the joy of those who encountered Jesus? I think of the lepers who were healed, the blind that were given sight, the woman at the well who goes to tell the town of Jesus, and countless others who were so overcome with the healing they received that they rejoiced and ran out to tell others of the good things Jesus had done for them and within them!

God had promised a savior that would come, but little did anyone expect that savior to come as a baby in a stable to unwed parents living in poverty who would be on the run after the baby is born.  Yet, that's just how Jesus enters into humanity.  Jesus comes to us as a vulnerable baby who will fulfill the promises of God through means other than what everyone expected - instead of being wealthy or royalty Jesus is a simple man who empties himself of his own desires to show us the way to follow God's will in our life.

Are there people in your life that you have made promises to? I know there are for me.  In order to keep those promises I need to do some self-emptying.  I can't be there for others when I am so focused on my own desires in life.  So, how does a person go about this self-emptying process? For me it is through prayer, through those times of silence with God, I am able to most effectively listen to where God is calling me in life.  Yes, there are many things I want to do - go for a run, sit and knit, lose myself in front of the TV, etc, etc, etc... I'm sure we all have a list of things we want, but how do they line up with the promises that we have made to others? It's a daily discernment process for me - some days I know that I need to fill my cup so that I can be all I can be for others, while other days I need to share what I have with others.  

  • How do you empty yourself?
  • If we are to make ourselves a gift to others what would that look like today? Consider the people in your life today and how you can be gift to them.
  • How has serving others inspired your faith?

This week consider making a commitment to empty yourself of your will, your desires, and your wants once a day, and spend that time, energy or money on someone else and meeting their desires or will.