When we think about “The Way of Hope” in Advent I think about the message of of John the Baptist whose ministry echo’s Isaiah’s text, “A voice crying the the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord.”
For American Protestant Christians “prepare” seems to mean an ever increasing flurry of activities and plans during the Advent Christmas season. But almost every Advent/Christmas I find myself asking, Have I/we taken on too much? Have we over planned and over scheduled this season? Have we mistaken the call to “prepare the way” with being busy rather than preparing our own hearts? Are just filling our lives with “doing” and failing at “being?”
We’ve made advent about all the things we need or want to do before Christmas from shopping for presents, to decorating, planning myriads of events, and in the life of the church many meetings about what we plan for in the coming year.
But in all our planning and preparing for activities, we may be failing to actually prepare ourselves for the hope in Jesus Christ that God calls us to.
Instead of every day being the burden of more busyness, what if during Advent we chose some ways to just BE.
Some ways to do that could be to adopt a practice or practices (not too many!) that help us just to be in God’s presence and in the presence of people we care about. Consider during Advent trying one of the following:
- Weather allowing, take a walk each day and enjoy the falling leaves
- Have a cup of coffee with a friend you’ve not seen in a long time
- Read the birth stories of Jesus from Matthew and/or Luke
- As part of a daily time with God sit in silence for 5, 10 or 15 minutes and just listen for the still small voice of God.
- Say “no” to some event or activity that will feel like it will overload your schedule.
- Try a new/different devotional practice.
In the Advent season we are reminded that we are children of God. We do not have to do more to be God’s children. We do not have to be busier to be God’s children. We just ARE God’s children. In this season of Advent let us find time to just be in the presence of God and know that our God is the way that leads to life!