Word of the Week

With four more days of Advent in the Christmas countdown, it's that time of the year when we all get a little crazy, even the most well-meaning, joyful, and kindhearted among us.

Those of us who hate the mall and all things shopping related find ourselves in overcrowded stores with poorly trained temporary workers checking us out, causing scenes of complete chaos when sales prices are not debited to our bank cards. 

Those of us who wait to do everything last-minute are finding it hard to get the sleep we need to keep going as lists and lists of holiday related chores call our names: parties to attend, presents to wrap, and cookies to bake (even though we've already eaten way too many).

Those of us who must prepare to travel to be with loved ones wonder when the laundry is going to be done as the Christmas activities are all-consuming.

For me, yesterday, I thought I might be assaulted in search of a parking space at the Post Office. Then, it appeared that the woman behind me in line might have a temper tantum when she saw how long the line in front of her was!

Yes, it is a time of peace on earth and goodwill toward all, but such is not often felt if you are the mall, if you are in a house full kids needing stocking stuffers, or if you go 100 feet of a Post Office anytime between now and tomorrow (the last day to ensure your Express Mail packages arrive on time).

For these reasons and many more, I was delighted to have stumbled on this great resource of Advent prayers-- self-reflective prayers for almost any December related situation. The author provides a resource to slow us down and be able to see God even in the fury of pre-Christmas activity.  I just felt calmer when I read this prayer:

My brother, Jesus. It happens every year. I think that this will be the year that I have a reflective Advent.

I look forward to Sunday and this new season, Jesus. But all around me are the signs rushing me to Christmas and some kind of celebration that equates spending with love.

I need your help. I want to slow my world down. This year, more than ever, I need Advent, these weeks of reflection and longing for hope in the darkness.

Jesus, this year, help me to have that longing. Help me to feel it in my heart and be aware of the hunger and thirst in my own soul. Deep down, I know there is something missing in my life, but I can’t quite reach for it. I can’t get what is missing.

I know it is about you, Jesus. You are not missing from my life, but I might be missing the awareness of all of the places you are present there.

Be with me, my dear friend. Guide me in these weeks to what you want to show me this Advent. Help me to be vulnerable enough to ask you to lead me to the place of my own weakness, the very place where I will find you the most deeply embedded in my heart, loving me without limits.

Remember in the craziness of whatever you find yourself in on this December 21st that we are all still waiting. And, sometime BIG is about to come-- if only we wait long enough to see it. And the "something" won't be found under any Christmas tree, no matter how much we shop or bake . . . .