Stay Awake! Matthew 24:42
Holy cow…did December sneak up on anybody else? I used to invisibly roll my eyes in youthful disrespect when “older” people said, “oh just wait; the older you get the faster time goes by!” The older I get, the more truth I discover in those words! Does anyone else ever feel like hitting the pause button long enough to get caught up?
This week we begin the season of Advent. I have a new Advent attitude this year. My new attitude comes from some extra prayer and study about the preparation season leading up to the birth of Christ.
I’ve been “hitting the books” so to speak because I have the great privilege of presenting a Woman’s night of Advent Prayer and Reflection this week…twice! I discovered some simple truths and beautiful thoughts for all of us as we stand at the edge of December. I hope they give you a new perspective on this often stressful, hectic, perhaps even chaotic month.
Stay awake fits…not because we’re exhausted by all the activity but because we need to be awake and tuned in to the gift of God’s Son or Christmas becomes nothing more than another day.
Popular culture and the wonderful world of retail sales catapulted us into Christmas right after the last bag of Halloween candy left the shelf but those of us who yearn for the true meaning…the deeper meaning…the life changing meaning of Christmas need to be willing to wait a little.
As a society, we aren’t very good at waiting! We like everything quickly and conveniently and we sometimes get lost in the “one-up” philosophy that often drives our ambitions and our actions. If you feel even a little part of that thinking seeping into your heart or thoughts, sit still for a minute and think about Advent.
If the season of Advent could be summed up in two words, they would be PATIENTLY WAITING! Yikes…really…but when will the shopping and baking and decorating and celebrating happen if we just sit around waiting? Good question I suppose, but maybe the answer is right in front of us…maybe we don’t have to spend so much time focused on all those things. If those are the things that take away from really “getting” Christmas maybe a prayerful re-vamp of December priorities is in order. I think that’s the point of this post!
I have a few big questions for all of us… Is walking into Holy Mass on Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning the highlight of your December? What consumes more time; shopping for the perfect gifts or preparing to receive the perfect gift of God’s Son? And finally, would you like to spend Christmas wrapped up in the Wonder and Awe lying in the manger or exhausted, sick of the decorations and ready to flip the page and clean up the mess? Jesus is bigger than one day!
God sent the gift of His Son in a tiny, humble, simple beginning…He figured we could relate to that. I think He felt like each of us could accept and believe something so “real”.
Each December He gives us the chance to re-live the true meaning of His gift. Each December we have a chance to clean our spiritual house to prepare for Him to dwell in our hearts. That only happens through still, quiet prayer and a desire on our part to seek Him and be blessed beyond measure by the true gift of Christmas.
I’m sure some of you are tempted to scream at your screen at me and say, “Geez Sheri…it’s the busiest month of the year and you are suggesting I take time I already don’t have enough of to sit still and pray for my heart to be ready for the New Born King!” ABSOLUTELY!!! Scream away, but that’s exactly what I’m challenging all of us to do this December.
I have to let you in on a secret…God can multiply time! If you unselfishly, trustingly, prayerfully give Him some of your day, He will bless you unbelievably. Be honest as you start your prayer, say to Him, “God, I’ve got SO much to do today, please know these 10 or 15 minutes I’m going to sit here in prayer are precious. Please take my busy day and show me how to make You a part of it. Bless my actions and my words and my tasks.” Then, my friends, stand back and prepare to be amazed at what He will do!
If you aren’t sure what to do with that prayer time, read the story…the Christmas story from the Annunciation all the way through the Magi. Read it little by little again and again asking God to get your heart ready. Ask Him to make this Advent about His Son…His gift and not so much about all the other stuff. I know it may sound crazy but invite God to go shopping with you…He has made some amazing gifts “appear” when I had no ideas and very little budget. Invite Him into all of it, asking Him to help you keep His Son as the focus.
My first Advent project was to create a new family Advent wreath using pint jars, colored sugar and branches from evergreen trees from our yard. It felt good to spend more time making an Advent wreath than I’ll spend decorating the Christmas tree. I figure if I do Advent right, I will go to Mass on Christmas Eve with my family and be so filled with joy and gratitude my heart will feel like it just might burst! That’s my goal this December…that’s my new Advent attitude!
A Seed To Plant: Take the first step today…sit in quiet prayer and ask God to show you how to “do Advent” with a spirit of prayerful anticipation of the most amazing gift imaginable; His Son.
Copyright 2013 Sheri Wohlfert