December: Focus Among the Rush


Advent presents many possibilities for us. With the beginning of a new liturgical year, there is a sense of starting fresh with our rule of life or spiritual discipline. And yet, there is also the often frantic sense of having to complete plans, reports, projects, etc. by the end of the calendar year. There is the joyful anticipation of a festive holiday season, and perhaps the anxiety-ridden dread of a season of painful remembering. Advent is intended to be a time for us to consciously wait with hope and expectation for Jesus, the Christ Child to come into our lives in some new way. To bring that about, we are called by John the Baptist to Repent and Prepare the Way. How are we to slow down and focus on these things the way our lives are today?

Well, there are many possibilities and many of them can be found right on your smart phone, iPad, etc. Did you know that the Book of Common Prayer can be found on the internet? Within its text are brief (about 10-minute) services of prayer and scripture for Noonday and Evening (Compline). So, as you break for lunch or prepare for bed, you can take these few moments to be quiet and communicate with God. Also online are several sites that provide daily devotions, brief theological thoughts or paragraphs based on the day’s scripture reading. Among these are Forward Movement, Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE), and Luther Seminary sites. Of course, you can use the hard copy of the prayer book and Forward Day by Day. You might bring the family together during the evening for Compline and take turns reading it.

Whatever way you find to prepare this Advent Season, may that way lead you straight to a closer relationship with the Holy One who is coming into our midst at Christmas.