How is your Advent season coming along? Have you found time to light your Advent wreath candle before the dinner meal and pray? Do you have a weekly or daily prayer ritual marking this special time of anticipation, this time of expectation for the Nativity of the Lord? Have you taken advantage of the special Advent bulletin insert with prayer activities or creative ways to keep this holy season?
I can tell you that my answer today is “no” because my life is probably just as busy as your lives, when you are taking children to school, going to work, running errands, preparing for social events and of course Christmas shopping for family members and friends. We have so many ways to keep busy, and fewer ways to slow down, pray and reflect. Life is just plain full, so full that there doesn’t seem much time to breathe. When we get to that point, I think we realize something is out of whack.
Speaking with a friend who goes to weekly stretch with others of his age, he reminded me that exercise, stretching is a way to de-stress, to slow down and get a perspective on life. It’s hard to slow down when there seem to be so many demands to fulfill, so many obligations to keep, that life is more like a treadmill than living gratefully for all the blessings we have.
Let’s make a pact that throughout the rest of this Advent season we are going to take some time for any of the following: First, make use of the ideas in the Advent 2018 insert, for example on December 14 perform the following: “read a favorite book to a younger son or daughter or grandchild today.” This week we can watch for signs of God’s coming to us. Second, light a candle with the dinner meal, it doesn’t have to purple, or even four candles on a ring, but light a candle remembering how Christ is the light of the world, remembering how we are waiting for that light in a new way. Third, pray for guidance when setting out on those shopping trips to find a suitable gift for your family member or fiends you may exchange gifts with this Christmas. Or discuss with your family how you will jointly support some worthy cause, giving to Sacred Heart Community Services, or Home First, who keeps the homeless shelters open for people without shelter or Martha’s Kitchen. Fourth, pick a piece of music that speaks to you about Advent, whether “O Come, O come Emmanuel” or some other appropriate piece and add that to your Morning or Evening Prayers.
In many ways we can bring some sanity into the craziness of this season in the next two weeks before Christmas. And always let us remember that Jesus is the reason for this season. Happy Advent!