Like a running back with the ball held close, head down and stiff arm rushing head \long into the defense, so we seem to enter the season of Advent. The greeting, “Hi, how are you” is replaced by “Are you ready for Christmas” in conversation. Certainly, Advent is a time of preparation, but not the frantic activity of consumer gluttony that seems to be the hallmark of this season. Advent is a time to quiet our minds, and slow our pace, to prepare our hearts to embrace the mystery of Christmas sung in the words of a familiar carol,
“Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled…
Here are some ideas to slow yourself down this Advent Season
1. Practice waiting. “Lord unrush me” Lysa Terkeurst
Waiting is a radical act in the month of December. Resisting the sprint towards Christmas requires us to go against the grain of popular culture, which is more consumed with unceasing activity than the long and slow journey to Bethlehem. Waiting demands we slow down, open our distracted hearts and make room for the sacred in the middle of the frenzy. It means not rushing to the manger, but absorbing the unfolding story of Scripture that leads us to the birth of the Christ child. Waiting can also mean not singing Christmas hymns the first few weeks of Advent, keeping the tree in the box for a while and setting up the Nativity scene on Christmas Eve. In the end, those who wait are rewarded with the deeper satisfaction of growing closer to God rather than the empty feeling associated with holiday exhaustion.
2. Develop a discipline of daily scripture reading
5 minutes a day of faithful bible reading will change your life through the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within you. Paul writes in Romans 12:2, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”
3. Develop a discipline of daily writing
Record the bible verses from your daily discipline of scripture reading. Write a few words of your experience. Even the word WOW could be enough to capture your experience.
4. Join a small group (new advent study begins this week!)
Sharing Advent with others is a meaningful way to experience the season. Try joining a small group during Advent that will give you a place to connect with others and travel the advent journey together. An organized small group focused on the themes of Advent can take you to a place that cannot be reached on your own. A small group experience builds relationships that enrich and sustain your spiritual life. A new group study, “Awaiting the Already”, begins today at Gloria Dei. Join us as we explore the advent message presented in each gospel.
Some material borrowed from Pastor Mark Altrogge and Pastor Billy Doidge
November 26, 2017