In the past, I jumped from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Like many, I’d bypass the intermediary season of preparation, expectation, and anticipation.
Yet slowly through the years, I’ve begun to realize what I’ve been missing.
Advent specifically focuses on Christ’s “coming.” His past coming in our secured salvation. His present coming in Word and sacrament. And His future coming when He returns again.
This year my plans included beginning the Advent season in a slow and quiet manner, reflecting on the full extent of what this “coming” means. I’d have lit candles, background music, and planned scripture and devotional readings.
Yet life circumstances aren’t lining up very well for slow and quiet. Instead long-distance doctor appointments; out-of-state travel to transport a child to and from home; and meetings found their way into my schedule, taking up entire days.
My calendar is colored far too full to allow for the dream season I had created in my mind. My plan for a reflective Advent season seemed doomed.
Yet a sabotaged calendar doesn’t mean this Advent season of reflection and anticipation has to be sabotaged too. Even when life becomes busy, we can take time to appreciate and anticipate all this season means.
When the Calendar Says No to Quieter and Slower
We think of slow and quiet as something we do externally. Yet when we can’t physically slow down, we can still do it emotionally and intellectually.
We can still prepare our hearts and minds to dwell on Christ. Regardless of the circumstances in our lives during the Advent season, we can give our soul what it longs for, connection with our Savior.
When slow and quiet is not your reality, consider incorporating such simple practices as
- breathing a quick prayer of thanks for your salvation,
- reminding yourself of Christ’s birth and death for you,
- reciting a prophetic Bible verse that points to Jesus’ coming, such as Jeremiah 33:15
- Discover the blessing of having your Advent devotions read to you via a mobile Bible app (I like Bible Gateway) while running an errand or driving to an appointment or preparing the evening meal.
Find something that works and then relax, knowing Jesus will meet you where you are. And the sweetness of the moment will be there when your schedule does slow enough to allow for those extra-special practices like candle lighting and calendar observance.
Meet Jesus Where You Are
My week ahead continues to present rather full. For me, it’s tempting to cram everything I missed so far and all I will miss in my Advent observance into a one-day session. Yet that wouldn’t be very simple or reflective.
So instead of fighting for it all, I’m going to start where I am. I have today, where the hours are more manageable and the possibility of quiet exists.
Instead of getting nothing out of any of it, I’m going to grab the slower moments that promise to grace this day. I’m going to quiet myself, so I can be fully present with the Lord in the time that presents today.
So today, the prophecy candle will be lit in hope and expectation for the coming Messiah. Today, the Advent Scripture readings for this day will be enjoyed.
Tomorrow may look very different, with few peaceful moments. Yet as long as we purpose in our hearts and minds to be in Christ, even the busiest days can bring us into closer communion with Him. Isn’t that what Advent is all about?
Yes, circumstances may prevent us from being outwardly quiet and still, but we can we can still do so inwardly, slowing our minds and preparing our hearts to be with our Savior.
The promise was given, the way is being made straight, and our future hope is secured. We have a lot to be grateful for. Let’s dwell with Him today, whether in the middle of a chaotic day or in the hush of quiet moments.
“And again, Isaiah says, ‘The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.’ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:12-13
Reflections: What Advent practices have you planned? How can you sit with Christ during this Advent season even when your days roll out too busy to be still?
- *Beauty of frosted leaves; *Our oldest back home through the holidays; *The beauty of nature brought inside to decorate for Thanksgiving
- *Christian radio and podcasts for long drives; *Zach home for Thanksgiving; *Living room turning into a wrestling room with all the boys together, and Rachel joining right in
- *Cooking for my 6 (okay, maybe enough for 20); *Time to do day-before prep of Thanksgiving dishes to allow for more relationship time on the big day; *Thanksgiving Eve worship with my family and friends
- *A delicious, on-time meal with the five people I love most; *A little football 500 with the boys followed by a quiet solo walk through the timber at dusk; *Serving my boy by doing a bit of sewing
- *Sneaking in games between baking and making; *Having a couple helpers with candy/cookie making; *Crockpot soup for an easy meal
- *Being part of a large family; *Looking past individual differences to love and enjoy time together as an extended family at the Reuter Christmas celebration – it’s not always perfect but it ends up beautiful; *Food, game playing, exchanging gifts, sibling/niece/nephew/cousin bonding, and laughter
- *More time spent with family; *More car time with Zach, getting him back to college; *Warm hug via a simple, heart-felt text of acknowledgement
I'm so glad you're here to walk with me through this messy but glorious journey called life! Please consider sharing this post with your family and friends. And don't miss a single piece of encouragement! Sign up to get every post in your inbox. It's free, and you'll receive free gifts just for signing up. Oh, you can unsubscribe at any time. Yours in grace ≈ Julie
I'm so glad you're here to walk with me through this messy but glorious journey called life! Please consider sharing this post with your family and friends. And don't miss a single piece of encouragement! Sign up to get every post in your inbox. It's free, and you'll receive free gifts just for signing up. Oh, you can unsubscribe at any time.
Yours in grace ≈