Last Thursday evening, I had the privilege of speaking at an “Advent by Candlelight” event at a lovely Catholic church in Mount Holly, NJ. Below is an excerpt from my talk along with a download to help us all hold onto the ‘holy’ in the midst of our ‘busy!’
Have you ever sat down and considered how incredible the Incarnation really is? That awe-striking moment when, because He loves us so much and desires to be as close to us as He can, God made the unlikely decision to become one of us. To meet us right where we are and join us in the messiness of our humanity. God’s holy Presence, dwelling within and among us.
Ahhhhh, let’s rest here for a moment. Presence ourselves in His Presence. And while we are resting here, let’s take a moment to think about and plan for how we will remain in His presence throughout this Christmas Season. Thankfully we have this time called Advent, when we get to slow down and prepare our hearts for the celebration of our Savior’s birth.
Yup, so between now and Dec 25th we all just slow down, right?? Ummm, not in my house! Yours? Is your December calendar as crazy as mine?!
These weeks leading up to Christmas are busy! Yet, all the busy-ness makes them no less holy. Busy and holy, can the two co-exist? Let’s talk about that. Actually, let’s not talk about the busy. We’ve got that part down, right? There is certainly plenty to DO.
Let’s talk about the holy: Preparing for the arrival of Jesus. Welcoming our Savior into our homes and our hearts. This is the most important to-do on any of our lists, yes? And the particulars around this to-do – welcoming our Jesus – read more like a to-BE list than a to-DO list. How am I BE-ing in the midst of the DO-ing?
You see, we can DO any of the tasks on our list in such a way that we will BE squarely in the presence of Jesus – or not! I can run my errands while mentally reviewing the list, worrying that I forgot something at the last stop, focusing on the time because I haven’t got enough of it. OR…I take a deep breath and say one of my favorite prayers: “Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything.” And then I put on a rosary podcast or a Christmas CD and allow myself to BE in God’s presence. And the doing gets done.
I can clean my kitchen and bake the cookies while feeling anxious about all there is to do. Which usually morphs into silent judgment and complaints about my kids and husband not helping me enough and how I have to do everything myself (tell me I’m not the only one who does this–please.) OR…I take a deep breath, “Jesus I surrender myself to you, take care of everything.” I BE in God’s presence. And the doing gets done.
We’ll Find What We’re Looking For
Take a look around the room and find all the red that you can in the next 5 seconds. Count everything red that you see. Ready, Here we Go.
5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1.
OK, so how many brown objects did you see? What?! Probably none, because you weren’t looking for brown! Take a look around again. Does that mean that there is no brown in the room? Of course not. Well, what does it mean?
It seems that we will find whatever it is we are looking for. If I’m looking for red, I’ll find red. If I’m looking for all that needs to get purchased, and wrapped, and cleaned, and baked… I will find them. I’ll find them and so long as I keep my focus there, they consume my mental and emotional energy.
Likewise, when I look for beauty, I find beauty. When I look for generosity, I find generosity. When I place my mental energy on all that I am thankful for, I find blessing upon blessing. And gratitude. When I go about my DO-ing without intention on my BE-ing or my mental focus, it doesn’t mean that beauty, generosity, blessing, and gratitude are not there, it just means that I am more likely to miss them!
What is it that you will look for this Advent?
What is it you don’t want to miss?
Joy? Peace? Gratitude? Love? Connection? Grace? Write them down. Make yourself a to-BE list. Then, close your eyes, put a hand over your heart, take a long deep breath, and Be. Be in His presence. Be with Grace, with Peace, with Love. Know that God is right here, waiting to be invited into your plans, your day, your busy.
“Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28
Our Jesus does not want to be reserved only for moments of prayer before meals, or when I lay in bed at night, or sit in the pew on Sunday. He wants all in! Each day for the remainder of Advent, sit down next to Mary, even if you only have a moment. Gaze with her, on the baby Jesus. Gaze on the face of God. See His love for you. Come back to the holy. Come back, and rest in His Presence.
Advent Breath Prayer Cards
I made a set of six Advent breath prayer cards, which you can download by clicking on the image below. Print out the sheet, cut them apart and place around your home, car, office, or anywhere that you will run into them throughout your day. Each image contains a simple prayer to help you return to Jesus and to peace. Say the first part of the prayer (the words before the three dots) while breathing in, and the second part of the prayer while breathing out. Breathe in holy, breathe out busy.
Copyright 2016 De Yarrison