Advent is about waiting and it is about patience. Each year Christians mark it slowly as the weeks progress we light one more candle, enjoying a little more light as the nights get longer, until that morning when we light all five and rejoice at the birth of Jesus. Advent is the same amount of time each year, marked by the 4 Sundays, unlike the “holiday season” which seems to get longer by the year, like how “black Friday” deals happen on days not starting with F and cyber Monday deals are announced on days not beginning with M and how giving Tuesday…well you get the point. 

In church we still mark the time and mark it slowly. Many churches slowly add elements to their decor as they build momentum towards Christmas. This is in contrast with almost everything else any of us do, christians included. We are hurried and harried going from “thing” to “thing.” I know I am impatient to get into the car then I am impatient to have the lights all be green so I can hurry to a a store that I will then rush through…I barely have time to finish the sentence:) let alone put up all the decorations, cook the cookies, prepare the meal, buy and wrap the carefully selected gifts…

I want my phone charged and fast, I want my internet instant, I want my Youtube videos to load without ads, and so it is little surprise that I want my prayers answered, like yesterday. I want to see the promised justice of God, I want to see healings, and the reign of the Prince of Peace and none of it can come soon enough. Like the Psalmist I call out, how long, O Lord. I know I am not alone. 

That is why I think it might be helpful for us to remember that everything will happen in God’s time and we can do nothing to speed it up. When we worry or are impatient we cannot by such emotions add a single hour to our life. Advent is a time to embrace a slower pace.  Perhaps this involves saying “no” to a few invitations, or refusing to race around in our cars and malls buying items for people that already have too many things to fit in their house. Perhaps it means something deeper and more intentional. 

I want to invite you to select at least one slow practice and do it once a week over advent. If you are like me marking the Sundays with candles then maybe engage in the practice before you light your next one. 

Photo by Olena Bohovyk on Pexels.com

You might (but are not limited to):

Journal with gratitude about the year that has been

Or what you already have

Bake cookies (or whatever) and share them with people you love

Sit silently and stare at the lights on a tree, the snow falling, or a child playing or steam rising from a mug

Go for walk for the joy of walking with no destination

Slowly chew some food and really notice the flavours and reflect on how this food came to be in your life

Read a single chapter of scripture every day for a month

Pray for a loved one with as specific a prayer as you can

Write a poem

Read old and beloved stories

Make hand made cards

Make hand made decorations

Take a bath

Cook a special meal

Knit 

Visit an artisan fair or browse an actual bookstore

Play a board game instead of a video game

Stretch your body

Whatever it is, as long as it is slow, as long as it reminds you of your humanity and our shared longing it is great. 

Advent is a marvellous time of year to step out of time, out of the rush, and look around at our lives, at our God, and look forward to the plans he has for us. 

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