Thursday, December 5, 2013

Advent Slowing Down

I read yesterday a small Advent meditation/prayer:
"Dear Jesus . . . It happens every year. I think that this will be the year
that I have a reflective Advent.

I look forward to Sunday and this new season, Jesus. But all around me
are the signs rushing me to Christmas and some kind of celebration
that equates spending with love.

I need your help. I want to slow my world down. This year, more than ever,
I need Advent, these weeks of reflection and longing for hope in the darkness.

Jesus, this year, help me to have that longing. Help me to feel it in my heart
and be aware of the hunger and thirst in my own soul. I know it is about you, Jesus.
You are not missing from my life, but I might be missing the awareness
of all of the places you are present there.

Be with me, my dear Friend. Guide me in these weeks to what you
want to show me this Advent. Help me to be vulnerable enough to ask you
to lead me to the place of my own weakness, the very place
where I will find you the most deeply embedded in my heart,
loving me without limits."
From Creighton University Collaborative Ministries:
I have always liked Christmas. Last year I shared about the Christmas of my childhood [See Entry]. It is those past Christmases of our childhood that embed in our hearts a lifelong love for Christmas.
I worry about Christmas sometimes. The business world depends upon Christmas for revenue. If we simplified Christmas too much it would wreck the economy; but are we responsible to maintain the addiction of business to Christmas spending? I have nothing against gift-giving and decorating and festivity, as long as it doesn’t create personal debt.
I worry also about the hectic pace that surrounds the weeks before Christmas. There’s a lot of pressure upon people and families to "get everything done" before Christmas that we think or have been told must be done. The hectic pace and all the Christmas Shopping Push threatens to drown out any sense of Advent with its more reflective mood.
The meditation that begins this entry speaks of my own longing to slow down. I could long for this slowing down at almost any time or season in my year! I suppose most people feel busy almost all the time, like I do.
One year I was rushing around doing shopping and errands before Christmas. I had given myself too many things to do in too short a time and as I changed lanes in the busy traffic in front of the mall, I ran into the car in front of me. It wasn’t serious but it meant waiting a long time for the traffic police to come and to get my ticket of shame. Not only had I slowed down my schedule, but also the schedule of the woman whose car I bumped.
That taught me a lesson: I needed to slow down. As I said, I love Christmas. I resolved that if while doing the things to get ready for Christmas, I wasn’t enjoying myself because of stress or hurry, I needed to slow down and retrieve the joy.
Advent is a great time for me to heed that message again, and to especially slow down for prayer and to become more aware of the places and people where the Lord is coming to me.

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