"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Monday, November 28, 2011

And They're Off.....

Thansgiving has come and gone and the Christmas season is officially here.  Of course, the stores have been decorated for weeks now, and even a local church was decked out in its Christmas array before we could sing, "Come, ye thankful people, come...."  But why not, I've been hearing It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas on the radio for 2 weeks now.  Yet before I get too judgmental, let it be known that even I hit the stores a little bit on Black Friday, though I really didn't purchase much ... just a lavender chamomile candle for my bathroom and a fuschia vest from Bass Pro.  The excursion was more for family fun than anything else. There was even a hope of seeing Santa Claus.  But there were some serious shoppers out there.  Bags not only in their hands and over their shoulders but under their eyes as well as many of the stores had opened on Thursday evening offering all night shopping for that perfect gift for those special ones on your list. 

Yet this rainy Monday morning I woke with my own list.  Not so much a shopping one but a "to do" one.  All pointing toward Christmas.  All getting ready for the big day that will be here before we know it.  My mind is already going in a thousand directions.  Do this.  Do that.  See to this.  See to that.  Pick up this.  Order that.  My lands, I have lists within lists.

But as I sat down for a few minutes and lit my Advent candle, a certain word kept coming up and up again. "Wait."

Excuse me?


Wait for what?  Christmas is coming!

You see, I'd already fallen into the cultural trap.  I had already begun to lose the joy of the present moment by getting ready for the "big event."  I was already on the verge of missing Christmas because of the frantic to get there.  Seriously folks, how many times have we felt a deep anticlimax on Christmas day when that long-anticipated day didn't live up to our expectations?  Could it have been because we had lived so in the future, that when the future became the present, we didn't know how to deal with it because we had lost the ability to be fully present, right now?

So what do we do with that?  Do we do as in days past and wait to decorate our homes until Christmas eve?  Do we wait to sing Christmas carols until that morning?  Do we go on a crusade to have our neighborhood covenants read "No Christmas lights on houses are to be turned on until the evening of Dec. 24"?  Of course not.  That would not only be ludicrous but completely unattainable.

I ask again: what do we do?  What is this Advent "waiting" all about? 

For me, it means active waiting.  Advent summons me to the present moment, to a still yet active, a tranquil yet steadfast commitment to the life I live right now.  If I want to appreciate Advent fully and experience Christmas in its entirety, I need to relearn how to wait, to rediscover the art of savoring the future, of staying in the present and of finding meaning in this act of waiting.

My list of "to dos" has not changed.  The transformation has taken place in my heart.

Just an ordinary moment...

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