Lent and Advent are the two prominent seasons of the church year. A lot of people are used to doing something different during Lent—giving something up, or taking on a spiritual practice of some sort. But during Advent, I think we’re often too busy getting ready for Christmas to think much about it as a spiritual season. Between the Christmas parties, kids’ concerts, decorations and cookie baking, it may be too much to add one more thing onto that very full December plate.
That said, I think this year’s been tough on a lot of us. There’s a lot of anxiety in the air. Political issues from tax policy to net neutrality to immigration to environmental policy has a lot of us stressed. And with the number of sexual harassment and assault cases in the news on top of that, we’re also questioning whether or not we can trust our favorite entertainers, leaders, or TV personalities any more. Loved ones have died, relationships are getting strained or breaking. It’s a lot to hold in our heads and hearts.
So, this may be a good Advent to find something to do to restore ourselves. What you do may be different than what other people do, but find something that feeds you. Maybe it’s going for a walk every day. Maybe it’s reconnecting with an old friend or relative you haven’t talked to in a while, by phone, or in person. Maybe it’s being deliberate about your gift giving—being creative with less money, or making home-made gifts, or landfill-free experiences instead of trinkets. Maybe it’s turning off your computer screens for a certain period of time, or doing more journaling, or spending a few minutes in prayer each day, or tipping more than you usually would. Whatever it is, I encourage you to find something that feeds your spirit and nourishes your soul, because God knows we need it.
And if we do that, I think it may also help us be more present for the ancient story of God coming to us in that little child on Christmas Day, in the most unlikely of ways, in the most unlikely of places.
Grace and peace,