Here we are in Advent, and I have mixed feelings. There is always so much to do this time of year. Deb and I have gifts to buy and mail, cards to get out with this year’s Christmas letter, decorations to put up in our home. And finding time to purchase a tree, put it up in our living room, and decorate it. In our household, Deb has usually done most of this, but this year I hope to do at least a bit better in our Christmas preparations. For me, Advent always seems to go by so quickly! Hurry up and get all these things done!
A conflicting message for me in Advent comes from the church season. This is meant to be a season for reflection and preparation for the celebration of the incarnation at Christmas.
Advent is a time for waiting and pondering the meaning of God’s coming into our lives through Jesus. Time for reflection and quiet can be very scarce if I am hurrying around doing things for the holidays.
So how can I resolve these mixed Advent feelings? How can any of us do this? It helps me to be as purposeful as I can about the way I go through this season. It’s important for me to step up and help out around our home in doing Christmas traditions. It helps if I set aside time for this, and not just hope that I’ll find the time. Likewise, it helps if I carve out some quiet time for reflection and waiting. The quiet time definitely will not happen if I don’t plan for it. I like to go to Christ the King Retreat Center in Citrus Heights occasionally for a quiet day, and I definitely will do this during Advent. I think that I have done a better job this year of not filling my schedule with too many activities or commitments.
How does Advent work for you with its “hurry up and wait” push and pull? I hope that you will be able to plan for your Christmas preparations so that it’s not too hectic. I also hope that you will make the time for reflection and quiet – through Sunday worship, personal prayer and Bible reading, enjoying the natural world around you, or being with friends and family just to enjoy their presence.
I wish us all a wonderful Advent Season of rushing and hurrying, of waiting and pondering! May the peace of our Lord be with us all this season.
In Jesus’ love, Father Ray