Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap.
December is usually such a busy month: shopping, baking, decorating, preparing for family visits, wrapping presents, school nativities and concerts, carol services and office parties. In the secular world December is usually full of activity, noise, light and getting things done It can all be fun and worthwhile, but it can also tap into our anxieties and draw us deeper into the clutter and chaos of our lives. It can reinforce the thought that we’ll find satisfaction, and maybe even God, at the end of our rushing and working and acquiring and accomplishing
But this year in the world, and in the church, it’s the opposite: For the first time in many years December truly feels as Advent should, a season of emptiness, stillness and waiting in darkness and silence. This is one of those times when it’s clear that the practice of our faith is sometimes swept along with habits and pressures of our culture.
Jesus teaches us to let go of the world’s desires, distractions and attachments, its worries and fears and anxieties. He invites us to attend to the deep inner peace God offers us. He invites us to be deeply present in each moment, and to find God there―not at the end of our striving, but right here in this moment, now. And this year many of us are experiencing more time in which to do this.
Advent this year has less cultural and church pressure to get busy and instead offers us time to slow down and be mindful. For the only way to practice a different way of living is to practice. So instead of spending December worrying about all that we can’t do, we should make intentional choices this special season to stop and listen for the angels, to offer our hearts as mangers where Jesus might be born anew. We have been given the gift of time to stop and be mindful. I invite you to set aside some time every day, even if it’s only five minutes to pray, and to embrace the emptiness, stillness and waiting in darkness and silence and within that space to find the joy of living more simply.
Rev Nik Wooller
6th Dec 2020