“Take time to be aware that in the very midst of our busy preparations for the celebration of Christ’s birth in ancient Bethlehem, Christ is reborn in the Bethlehems of our homes and daily lives. Take time, slow down, be still, be awake to the Divine Mystery that looks so common and so ordinary yet is wondrously present.

“An old abbot was fond of saying, ‘The devil is always the most active on the highest feast days.’

“The supreme trick of Old Scratch is to have us so busy decorating, preparing food, practicing music and cleaning in preparation for the feast of Christmas that we actually miss the coming of Christ. Hurt feelings, anger, impatience, injured egos—the list of clouds that busyness creates to blind us to the birth can be long, but it is familiar to us all.”

– Edward Hays, A Pilgrim’s Almanac

Uh Oh.

I’ve found myself in the trap once again. Thanksgiving was a blur, holiday parties are upon us and there are SO many joyful, traditional, and communal time. I love this time of year, I really do. BUT, there is something deep within me in the quiet moments that is dying to actually have a Christmas season that has a sense of quiet contemplation, longing, desiring for Christ.

I was having a conversation this morning with my housemate about change and changing habits. She said that change is hard, it hurts and isn’t comfortable but you have to keep making the decision little by little until it doesn’t hurt so much, until the change has become a new reality. I liked that – change doesn’t have to be immediate, its the slow daily choices that ultimately produce lasting change.

This led me to think about the traditions that I’ve been handed and the culture I live in for this time of year called Advent. I realize that as I am becoming an adult, I have to create traditions for MY family; routines and habits that will guide us through Advent. I have not made the step, the choice to be intentional in this choosing and therefore I find myself scrambling for gifts. Who ships the fastest? Whoa- 40% off! I have to buy something! Hmmm… What shall I get so-and-so? Running, driving, scrambling, dizzying, busyness.

So, today I made a choice. This morning as the sun lit up my bedroom, I wanted a day of peace. It’s the Sabbath for crying out loud – the day CREATED for rest. Rest, contemplation, and advent today meant a peaceful run this morning, breakfast with my housemate, conversation, Christmas music and crafting, and kindling the sense of what Advent is, what it means, and its vast significance.

Tomorrow will be a different day, I could very well lose the choice I’ve made today, in fact as I look as the week ahead I can almost count on it, but today was Advent. I need to hold this in my heart and pass this peace to those I meet. A little choice today to bring Advent with more regularly.


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