Advent is our most counter-cultural season, and so every Advent I say the same thing. This is a time for us to slow down.
I know that we are entering a hectic time of year. It sometimes seems as if the whole world goes crazy every December! My children are now old enough that my own busy-ness involves less shopping and fewer children’s events than it used to. And still my December calendar is already quite full!
At Saint David’s, we have lots of seasonal activities of different kinds. Some of what we are doing is mainly for fun. I think about the Greening of the Church, Breakfast with Santa, or Lessons and Carols. Some of what we are doing is to meet particular needs—for example, the Agawam Christmas Project and the Blue Christmas service. And, of course, much of what we do is business as usual—our regular routine of worship, and Bible study, and outreach.
I am proud of how much we are doing, and I hope that people will participate in whatever they can. But please make sure that you do not lose sight of the reason for the season! In Advent—the four weeks before Christmas—the Church invites us to prepare ourselves to celebrate the birth of our Lord. Activities and festivities can be part of that preparation. And activities and festivities can distract us from what matters most.
I encourage everyone to take a few minutes now, in the early part of Advent, before things get too intense, to think about what spiritual disciplines might help you to have a holy Advent, might help you to get ready to welcome Jesus into your life in a new and deeper way.
For most people, those disciplines should include time for prayer and Bible study. If you are not already doing so, consider saying Morning Prayer during Advent. Use one of our prayer cycles (for our parish family or the nations of the world). Make time to participate in one of our Bible studies.
It is easy to get caught up in all the fun. But for us, this is a holy season. My prayer for us all is that we experience it as such.
Fr. Harvey Hill
This blog is my occasional reflections on life, God, Christian faith, and the Church. I hope you find it helpful!