Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Waiting in Stillness this Advent

I have been super into "the season" this year, you guys. I think all of my spare time that I've been blogging about has led me to dive into the holidays like never before. During Thanksgiving break I visited all of the people, drank all of the things, shop til I dropped, decorated, cooked, baked!


 I didn't cook or decorate any of that, actually. I spent Thanksgiving with a friend's family, but it was so seasonal.

THIS is my decor! It is my first holiday season without roommates and I still took it upon myself to bring some holiday cheer all up into my living space. Those of you who know me can appreciate what this means.
Every holiday season I do make an attempt to bake for an annual cookie exchange with friends. This year I actually kind of enjoyed it, though. I don't know who I am anymore.

So, perhaps it is because I have extra time on my hands that I've embraced Advent and the holidays, but there's nothing wrong with spreading a little Christmas cheer, is there?

I didn't think so.

Okay. So when you last "saw" me in November, I was reflecting, being thankful for the Year of Faith, and re-embracing my call to ministry. Now I'm all up in the holiday mix and OMGSOEXCITEDTOHAVESOMETHINGTODOANDCELEBRATE that I need to take a step back again and remember how peaceful November was and how important and essential my time in reflection is.

But that's what Advent is for! So I'm also super thankful and excited for this season of Advent.

Already in our second week!

A common theme for Advent is the act of "present waiting" which is something that I have been working on anyways. I am very task oriented. I always want something to DO. That's why I can get behind Advent; because I like this idea of actively waiting. It's not like REAL waiting. 'Cause we are still DOING something in that waiting.

For some reason what I just wrote about "not REAL waiting" made me think of Mean Girls and this "not like a regular mom" moment. It's not like "regular waiting". It's "active waiting." Get it? Any excuse for a Mean Girls quote, I know.

Anyway, this is why, perhaps, that my spiritual director and I have decided that I need to work on the STILLNESS of Advent. Not so much the action part. With the past couple of months dragging along in my mind and so many moments of uncomfortable stillness, this is a good challenge for me. Embrace the stillness of Advent- the stillness in the waiting.

Stillness can make me so ANGRY. I really do get so angry when people complain about things but never take action to make them better. I always want to take matters into my own hands. So, again, this idea of just embracing stillness is a good challenge for me, especially at this time where stillness can seem PAINFUL.

But as it has been turning out, the stillness of Advent has been more welcome since I have decided to busy myself with all of the things of the holidays. I need the stillness of Advent to keep me grounded so that I don't get carried away with the rest of what the holidays have to offer.

And when I am struggling with stillness- whether that be because I am busy or not- God gives me strength and peace with readings like today's (Wed for the Second Week of Advent):

To whom can you liken me as an equal?
says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high
and see who has created these things:
He leads out their army and numbers them,
calling them all by name.
By his great might and the strength of his power
not one of them is missing!
Why, O Jacob, do you say,
and declare, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?

Do you not know
or have you not heard?
The LORD is the eternal God,
creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint nor grow weary,
and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny.
He gives strength to the fainting;
for the weak he makes vigor abound.
Though young men faint and grow weary,
and youths stagger and fall,
They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength,
they will soar as with eagles’ wings;
They will run and not grow weary,
walk and not grow faint.- Isaiah 40: 25-31

And today's Gospel...

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves. 
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”- Matt. 11: 28-30

I love reading Isaiah during Advent for so many reasons, but in today's reading I love his confidence in God's strength and power. It reminds me that God is in control, not me. I also believe this was the reading that I read at my friends' wedding in July!

And of course, the Gospel reminds us that when we are weary, we should give everything over to God. Again, not resting on our own power, but His.

Happy Advent! I look forward to seeing what the rest of the season has to offer! But in a totally I'm-being-still, chill, and present, not anxious or a busy-body kind of way ;)