It’s the same every year. December descends and the chaos begins. More and more we face the busyness earlier each year. We desire to embrace every part of the season, but find ourselves overwhelmed and exhausted even before it begins.
For many years, I lost myself in the the cycle of adding in one more thing because as I told myself, I can handle it. More decorations, dozens of cookies, buying the perfect presents for loved ones, and the belief that overwrought and overwhelmed was part of the Christmas magic.
But God knows me best. He saw my focus on bigger and better and raised it with His invitation to peace and stillness. Four years later, I look forward to the holiday season knowing I can choose God and find His peace.
Instead of relying on empty holiday promises, I breathe deeply, slow down and enjoy the meaning of the season. God has a standing invitation for each of us. Slow down, listen, and open your heart to time in the waiting space. Prepare for the arrival of Jesus with a time of centering and focus on the One who blessed the world with His Son.
Have you made these same promises? When the Christmas season is weeks away, do you find yourself waiting expectantly or sighing in despair? How do you allow yourself time to sit in the waiting space and at the same time invite God to join you?
The anticipation of all the things December brings is more than we can handle at times. God knows this and is not surprised in the least. For the last four years, He has invited me to draw close in intimacy during the weeks leading up to Christmas. When I forget to give myself the time I so richly deserve, God calls me into the waiting space and shows me around.
Today I am offering this same invitation to you. Enter the waiting space with a renewed sense of purpose and let go of the idea of adding to your busyness by breathing deeply of the hope God extends. As you write out your holiday “to do” list, boldly add “DOWN TIME WITH GOD” in caps. Accept the personal invitation from God to be still.
When you prepare your heart first for the arrival of Jesus, I believe the items on your “to do” list will not seem so overwhelming.
Advent marks the space between the first Sunday in December until Christmas Eve. The four week period is our call to slow down and prepare the way for the Lord. I recognize the waiting space of Advent, but know that this in-between time is not enough for me to fully open my heart to receiving the gift of Jesus.
Shelly Miller, in her book Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World, describes the season of Advent like this:
Advent is a season pregnant with hope and expectancy, weeks of preparation for contemplating and then receiving the miracle of Jesus’ birth. Advent welcomes the incarnation into every home of those who celebrate it, but along with it there is the tension about the choices we make. Will busyness define how we wait for Jesus to come? Or will quiet contemplation be our sweet surrender while we wait? Similarly, Sabbath asks not “What will you give up for him?” but “How will you wait for him to come?”
[Tweet “It’s not “what will you give up for Him?”, but “how will you wait for Him to come?” #Advent “]
I don’t know about you, but I need a daily awakening to Jesus. A time of just He and I walking in communion. A prospect much bigger than four weeks of Advent each year. What about you? Is four weeks enough?
Waiting is a time of preparation. Whether it is a day, a week, or more, the space of waiting is our chance to welcome Jesus into our day. Soak in these words from Luke and allow God to show you what His invitation looks like this Advent season.
Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! Luke 12:35-37 NLT
May we choose to rest in the waiting space instead of the quick tensions of life.
Photo by Shannon Henriksen on Unsplash
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Wonderful post, Mary. I came across this phrase yesterday: “adventurously expectant.” (Romans 8:11). Imagine always being adventurously expectant! We’d be in a present state of awe, joy, listening, and being. Those words seem to apply to the Advent season too, I think!
I love coming across new ways to describe phrases in GOd’s Word. I’m going to hold onto “adventurously expectant” and who knows you might see it pop up here in a post. Let’s embrace expectancy this Advent and throughout the year.
Mary, this is a beautifully inspiring reminder to choose what is best, what touches us deepest, what lasts far longer than the end of December. Thank you, friend.
The choices we’re making in this season are so much more satisfying, aren’t they …
You are so good at hearing my heart as I write. Advent is an ongoing seeking of inviting God into our lives. It is always keeping our hearts and minds and open to all He has for us. I so appreciate you.
I, too, need a daily awakening to Jesus, Mary. I love this post and your invitation to peace and stillness. Thank you. Love and hugs to you!
Together let’s call upon God daily to walk with us in our quest to know Him better. I pray this invitation is just a beginning for you.
Mary, thank you for this timely reminder of the slow rising joy of waiting during Advent and how it births hope and restful anticipation in our souls. I loved reading Rhythms of Rest and it would be perfect to revisit it over the next few weeks. Amen to your closing words. May we favour rest over hustle, quietness over overwhelm, inner stillness over restlessness, peace over pressure and presence over presents. Bless you for your soothing start to the Advent season! <3
As I was reading Rhythms of Rest this morning, I realized that Shelly was speaking about you in her book. What a blessing. And I am all for joyful anticipation as we approach Christmas. This season allows us to make choices that uplift rather than overwhelm. Hugs to you friend!
I really look forward to starting an Advent daily devotion with my husband….it’s become our tradition. I also love getting out my Jesse Tree and reading Ann Voskamp’s book on Advent. It helps me to slow down and take the anticipation of Christ’s coming one day at a time.
That sounds like a wonderful tradition. Ann Voskamp’s book is one of my favorites, too. Thank you for being here and recognizing the gift of slowing down.
He is not absent in our waiting. For even then the Spirit is expanding our faith and filling us with His power. Thank you for this sweet opportunity to ponder His coming, friend! Blessings on your Sabbath!
Isn’t it a beautiful gift to know God and to let the Spirit reside in us in the waiting space? The chance to sit in stillness is one of mt favorite things. I pray it is one of yours too.
Amen. Waiting upon Him, seeking Him in the Stillness is something He continues to call me back to. Thank you for this beautiful series, Mary! I have missed your Sunday offerings. Blessings and love to you!
There is something so right about spending time in stillness with God. I am blessed you are here and thrilled to be writing again on Sundays.
This is a perfect message for me this season. My life has changed so drastically in the past 5 months that I have barely had a moment to breathe. I know God has been trying to get my attention and draw me to His side, encouraging me to slow down and be present. Advent is a perfect time to reflect on all He has brought me through and how faithful He is! Thank you for reminding us of the peacefulness we can enjoy this season!
Life changes that come one right after another are so difficult to endure. I have been praying for you. I hope Advent is a time for you to breathe deeply and allow God to work deeply in you.
Thank you, Mary!
Good morning, Mary. This post is a deep breath, a seeking and reaching Him. Thank you. I look forward to your Advent posts. I will continue writing about sacred pauses until Christmas, too.
What a sweet blessing to see you here today. I pray you find many deep breaths of Jesus throughout this season of preparation.