As I sat in front of my computer on Cyber Monday, browsing the websites of various retailers, irritability peeked its ugly head. Site after site, I wasn’t finding what I was looking for at all. I was running out of ideas, and panic filled my heart.
I closed the browser and walked away with a big, heavy sigh. It wasn’t even December 1, and I was already feeling behind on all of my Christmas preparations. But why? Looking at the calendar, I had plenty of time for shopping, wrapping, and decorating. Why did I feel so frantic and rushed?
Over the next few days, I contemplated my dreadful feelings surrounding the Christmas preparations that “should be” filled with excitement and anticipation.
Advent is a season of waiting, watching, and wondering. It is the season of hope and light, as we prepare for the greatest gift of all: Jesus.
So, what was with my anxiety and panic?
I like this festive time of year; I just don’t like to rush it. For me, Advent is a slow pilgrimage to Bethlehem, but the world speeds around me on an express train to Santaland. No wonder I felt like the wind was knocked out of me!
As I reflected more, I realized that I was separating my Advent desires for prayer, quiet, stillness, and rest from my Advent activities of shopping, decorating, and baking. Perhaps the Lord doesn’t want so much separation and fragmentation in Advent. Perhaps He invites me to have an integrated Advent that is prayerful, restful, delightful, and active. And by embracing it all—not just the prayer or not just the busy—a fluid Advent rhythm develops that moves from prayer and rest to checking things off my to-do list and back again, each positivity affecting the other, breathing life into my soul, my prayer, and yes, even my work.
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