“Hurry up! Christmas is almost here! I hope I can find some joy and peace myself.” Does that sound like you?
Because I am a woman of a certain age, the concept of time has taken on new meaning for me. Its value has continued to increase, and the opportunities to use this gift wisely have become more precious. There may be something to the often-expressed desire of older people who say they want to finish well. Whatever the case, I have personally found myself most appreciative of those moments when I am aware of the presence of God, and can immerse my entire being in that experience. For me, at least, this requires intention.
No matter one’s age, the season of Advent can quickly fill with more to-do lists and commitments than any sane person can handle. Hope becomes centered on the desire to just get it all done by Christmas, and joy comes only after it is all over! I would like to offer you a different approach.
During the four Sundays of Advent at Imago Dei this year, we are being introduced or reminded of some of the tools and practices in our spiritual formation toolboxes. Practices like Lectio Divina, different approaches to Prayer, and Examen all share the same prerequisites: silence and solitude.
Would you like to experience joy and peace right now? Are you willing to set aside just 20 minutes a day, with the intention of being present with your Creator?
Here’s how I do it. I choose a particular time each day (usually early morning) and a particular place (with a comfy chair). I set a quiet timer. Then I like to begin with a little ritual of lighting a candle, closing my eyes and taking several slow, deep breaths (sometimes I need more than a few!), and speaking the invitation, “Come, Holy Spirit.”
What I do next is...nothing. This time is a gift I give myself. My dear friend, Myfanwy, calls this “learning to be present to the presence of the Presence.” Since one never comes away unchanged by the presence of God, I can anticipate and expect to be impacted in the way I need to be. I simply have to be willing to come to the meeting.
Now, I am not going to pretend that I always receive some enormous, eye-opening revelation, although that has happened. I am, however, always calmer, more focused, and ready for whatever life holds that day.
If this has appeal for you, what is keeping you from trying this simple spiritual practice yourself? If you want to experience more of the luscious fruits of the Spirit this Christmas season, I encourage you to invest a little time with the source of all that goodness. I can assure you that you will have more to give to those with whom you are doing life. You may even discover that you have exactly enough time to get the things that are really important done!
Karen is a woman “of a certain age,” who has been a business woman, church lady, wife, mother, and grandma. She especially enjoys being a part of the Imago Dei Hot Mess Sisters Book Club...because she fits right in!