Grace and Peace to you.
The Realm of God is near. Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with being scattered and attached to things, and with the worries of this life, so that that day does not catch you unexpectedly like a trap.
—Luke 21.31, 34
The secular, commercial world thinks that the Christmas season just started, and will end on Dec. 25. But Christians follow a different calendar. Sunday we begin Advent, a season of preparation, repentance and waiting. We’re not good at that. We are in a hurry. We drive fast, even up to a red light. We hate standing in line. We “keep busy.” We’re like kids whining in the back seat, “Are we there yet?”
Well, we are there yet. We are here now. But we’re so busy being busy, and whining about it, that we don’t notice. Our busyness is not fruitfulness; it’s fear. We’re afraid of the stillness, afraid of the dark, afraid of what might come up in the silence. We’re afraid of not being in control and of being dependent, afraid of not knowing. We keep busy to stay unconscious.
Advent invites us into the dark, into the silence, into wakefulness. It is a time of preparing, yes, but also of waiting. Just sitting. Doing nothing, just being. It’s like being pregnant. God is doing miraculous things in us, and in the world, and there’s nothing we can do to make it happen or hasten. Like Mary, we just wait. Not wanting the child to be born prematurely, we wait the whole term. We enter into the mystery of not being in control, the darkness of trusting what is coming without seeing it, the silence of listening for what is beyond words. We enter into the stillness of paying attention. And we “wait upon the Lord.”
Each day, give some time to pause. Be free of the attachments of this world. Step out of the prison of busyness, the chains of having to justify yourself. Let go and be still. Deep within, let the miraculous child come to you. Wake up in the dark. Watch and listen. Trust what is coming. Don’t be afraid to wait. Perhaps then the day—even today—will not catch you unexpectedly like a trap but unwrap itself like a long-awaited gift.
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