Is it safe to guess that the Thanksgiving you celebrated yesterday was so very different from prior holidays? It most certainly was for me. Everything is different and so much is not at all the way we want it to be. But the calendar tells us that yesterday was Thanksgiving just like it says Sunday will be the first Sunday of Advent and a little more than three weeks later will be Christmas. Time, it seems, has been no easier to slow down than the spread of this terrible virus.
But I want to challenge us to try just this. Slow down. For the coming four weeks, take advantage of the recommendations to continue limiting your possible exposure to or transmission of this virus and be intentional about slowing down. Time, as measured by the earth’s revolutions, is a constant, while time that we experience from moment to moment is an altogether different calculation. Usually, the busier we are, the faster time flies.
These four weeks before Christmas are intended as a liturgical act in defiance of the rush to Christmas, a spiritual practice of getting ready. So often the busyness of the season conspires against this practice, adding only to the frustration that Advent is then just one more thing we’re not accomplishing before Christmas arrives. This year, without all the usual parties, shopping frenzies, or holiday concerts, we have an opportunity to actually experience some slowed down time within this season of Advent.
This is part of why we’ve titled our Advent worship series, “Making Room.” We have work to do over these next four weeks with hopes that by creating space in our lives, we’ll be better prepared for God’s presence to enter in. God is here now of course, there’s no need to wait until Christmas. Each moment you work to make room in your life for God, will be another opportunity for God to act, no additional waiting required.
In worship this month, we’re slowing down too. We’re reading through the first chapter of Luke’s gospel which is the preamble that leads up to Jesus’ birth story that we’ll hear on Christmas Eve. Why not take some time to read through it with us? It’s not long and much of it might already be familiar to you. My guess is you’ll discover something you hadn’t seen before or have maybe forgotten. You might even discover that you’ve made some room for God to enter in.
As you slow down this Advent, may hope, peace, joy, and love find you. -Pastor Peter