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?”
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.
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