This is it. “Christmas” has begun. A friend said to me today, after I asked if she was ready and excited for her 1 year olds experience of the season “No! I haven’t even finished Thanksgiving yet!”.
It is so incredibly easy to get lost in the hustle. I already feel my mindful presence slipping away- “Have I thought of a gift for that person yet, did I purchase my tickets, who am I forgetting, how many cookies do I need to bake”. I need a good grounding and centering. Advent offers just that.
Whenever I lead my small faith sharing group of young adults, the first place I stop is the St. Louis University’s reflections. They are great. For this week’s reading, I was particularly struck by John Foley’s reflections. He is a contemporary, Jesuit composer, some of my favorite’s of his are “Cry of the Poor” and “Patience, People”. Since I don’t think I could do as great a job as he, here is his part of his reflection:
“If you stay in the present instead of mainly the future or the past, you will find subtle and obvious beauty all about you. Your goal will arrive when its time comes. Meanwhile, the present tense is still happening.
Advent is like this. A time to pull in our scope a bit and realize that emptiness is a healthy and normal part of our lives. We are continually refilled if we let ourselves be. Strange to say, waiting for fulfillment is also itself a fulfillment. It lets us be what we are—not God but human.
May the real world be born to you as you wait.”
What I love is the parallel to some many of my other learnings in faith that theater, improv, and service have brought me. First, you MUST be in the present to be successful in these ventures. If I am thinking about the next step, I miss what is happening here and now. There is so much beauty in the moment- like the flowers in a vase before me, that if I live too quickly, I fail to see. In a time where I’m feeling so fragmented and frayed, hearing that there is purpose in this moment, as well as a calling to slow down, makes me feel supported.
As I get ready for Christmas, I remember that there is purpose in Advent, purpose in waiting. And in that purpose, I find joy. Happy waiting to you.