Christmas decorations started appearing in stores before Halloween. The leaves had barely started turning color when we were getting assaulted by visions of retail sugarplums. Now, it’s the beginning of December and the start of Advent. We’re not quite on final approach to Christmas, but having passed the first Sunday of Advent, it’s a good time to think about a practice for the season. If the emphasis is strictly on treasures under the tree, it’s like focusing on a wedding without preparing for the marriage.
Now that the turkey or tofurkey is relegated to leftover containers, during the next four weeks, carve out some time for an Advent spiritual practice. In my spirituality group, Anne mentioned a line from Psalm 46: Be still and know that I am God. She will begin Advent using that verse to help maintain her focus. For week two, she will pare down to: Be still and know. Week three reminds: Be still. And finally week four is: Be, simply be. How humble a word, yet how challenging to just be, without doing.
An advent wreath with its four candles can serve as a reminder counting down the weeks. Each night at dinner, take time to light the week’s candle. Themes for the four weeks of Advent are Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, aren’t those qualities to strive for in your life?
If Christmas is about a birth –the birth of love–Advent is the final month of the pregnancy. How can you use the month of December to enlarge your capacity to love? Perhaps you are called to be a prophet, rather than contributing to the profits of the consumer marketplace. Maybe it’s time to clear a path to the new year and reflect on the one just finishing. By acting with intention now, joy can come in the morning. We will reap what we sow.
© Joan S Grey, 2 Dec 2016
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