I have been enjoying participating in the creation of a global Advent calendar on Instagram. Early each morning I get an email reminding me of the word for the day, a few thoughts applying the word to an Advent theme, and a link to a longer essay on the theme. The first word was LOOK.
— Advent Word (@AdventWord) November 29, 2014
I quickly scanned the email, and read this message:
Advent is a time to look for “desert places.”
My first thought was, “Ah, yes. Look for desert places–places in my life that need to be watered by the Holy Spirit.” I thought the theme was a twist on the traditional Advent theme of shining the light of God in dark places.
But when I clicked through to the essay and kept reading, I found out how wrong I was!
The word of God came to John [the Baptist] in the desert. Advent is a time to look for “desert places”: the place of solitude, the place of true silence in which we can become fully awake to our sin and God’s forgiving grace which alone can heal it.
My theology focuses more on God’s love than sin, so I re-wrote the passage to be more meaningful to me:
Advent is a time to look for “desert places”: the place of solitude, the place of true silence in which we can become fully awake to God’s presence.
In these words, I am reminded of this verse from the Psalms:
This message of solitude and silence is so different from the pressure to do more, buy more, decorate more, and celebrate more that bombards us this time of year, but I know it is the quiet moments of the season–basking in the glow of our Christmas tree, singing Joy To The World! at the end of our candlelight service–are the most meaningful to me.
As I am looking for–and trying to create–desert places in my life, I also am thinking of what Carla wrote about improving on the silence. While she wrote about thinking twice before saying what’s on her mind, she also has me thinking twice about what I am “listening” to–are the things I’m filling my head with improving on the silence, or should I turn off the radio and step away from my computer so I will better be able to hear God’s still small voice?
Are you taking time to cherish the quiet moments this holiday season?