It’s Advent. That doesn’t mean a lot to people like it did years ago. It has been lost in the enthusiasm for Christmas. But for those who do choose to honor these days before Christmas it can be a deep and enriching time. There is one place and time that it is still honored – worship.
Advent is a time to breathe in deeply and I would suggest that maybe the best thing for this time of year, especially since the rush of Christmas has grown so large. Advent is more than a season of anticipation for the birth of Christ; it also looks seriously at the second coming of Christ. Finally, it can also be a time to sit in the moment.
Being a person who has multiple lists in my head and on paper and on my phone, I am always thinking about what needs to be done next. I agree that it keeps me focused and attentive to what I need to be doing. Sometimes at the end of the day, I realize that I have missed looking at the sky above and the trees and flowers around me.
One of my first trips on the Appalachian Trail was with my son near our lake house. He was in 8th or 9th grade. It was a cool November morning. We planned a day hike. I packed what supplies I thought would be needed for the day. We had checked off everything that was on our list and felt prepared.
Early in the morning we were dropped off at the bottom of a mountain and started the day. The first part of the hike was challenging for novices but soon we would be at the top. A good 8 miles was still ahead of us. We stopped for a snack and water and then off we went again, staying on task. This time we were on a long ridge.
Along the way, there was an opening in the trees overlooking the valley below. Camden wanted to wander off the trail and look out over the deep ravine. We made our way to the edge. There was a long moment of silence. He turned to me and said, “I’d like to live here. Can we stay here for a little while?” At that moment, I knew what hiking was about. It was about discovering the wonders of the world and life. It was going off the beaten path and discovering some of the wonders of God’s creation.
For me, Advent is a way of figuring out how to get off the worn paths and schedules of the cultural Christmas traditions and seeing the wonders of God’s creation. A person doesn’t necessarily have to go somewhere. One only needs to stop and look.
Stop and ponder how God plays a role in your life? How is God guiding you in the love and care of your children? Where does God fit into your relationship with your special someone? Where is God guiding and instructing you to be His witness in the world? How is he walking with you in later years? Where is God supporting you in your changing roles or situations?
Advent points us to a time where we celebrate Emanuel, God with Us. Try not to be so task oriented that you miss what your life is about. Look up from the path and notice where God is in your life and take a moment to say a prayer and give thanks.
I would love to live in God’s presence every day.
Well …we do!
~ See you at worship!