Sunday, 23 November 2014
Awakening to Advent
November fog invades my brain, stealing away brightness, coating all in its dreary gloom.
Seasons affect us more than we know. Each one leaves a footprint of their presence.
This season? My soul needs quiet, my body craves sleep and rest, my spirit thirsts after the place where I converse with God, on the doorstep of my heart.
I'm seeking after sacred pauses, making way for holy moments in the everyday.
As my health has declined over the last few months, I've needed to withdraw quite a bit from social media interaction, groups and conversations, and I've also missed the quiet times and places where my soul speaks with God.
Although it's what I've needed more than anything, it's also been a casualty of the storms of life.
'Quiet Time' ceased to be such as my fog-brained, pain-filled body yearned for sleep, became preoccupied and anxious; and praying was reduced to quick-fire cries for help.
These needs cannot be ignored. We pine and die inside without letting the Light in. Because a weary mind and body need His strength to go on, don't they?
There's a shift beneath the surface of my slow, sluggish days. A stirring toward all my soul desires to stay sane, stable and at rest.
An acknowledgement that I am lost and lonely when I fail to spend quality time with God.
I want to awaken to Advent without the world's noise intruding strong, resist its clamouring tongue and clarion call to excess consumption.
And as I try to still my heart, listen to the One whom my soul loves and runs after, I sense Him whispering these words:
"Be aware; be watchful; be prepared. The King is coming. He is with you.
Keep your eyes peeled and your heart receptive. Don't let it grow hard or cold.
Allow a Holy longing to touch mystery seep slow into your soul and invade mind and spirit.
A new morn dawns in the history of mankind.
A new day to rejoice and be glad, for your God is with you and He is mighty to save.
A reason for humble thanksgiving.
Come closer. Come empty. Come freely. Come frequently. I will fill you to overflowing.
My throne room is always open to you and you will find a warm welcome here.
Spend your precious energy in seeking Me. I will refuel you.
Lavish attention on My glorious provision. I will give you all your soul longs for.
Whisper it loud. Joy is here for all to share. There are no beggars in My Kingdom.
This sacred place makes space for all who hunger and thirst for Me.
And in this season, all who seek Me with their whole heart will find Me.
There will be celebration over every soul who makes way for the King to live within.
Share your words; share your heart; share the promises fulfilled in Jesus, My Son.
Your watching, waiting and praying will have their reward.
As your heart makes room for the King of kings, it will be filled and flooded with the love, joy and peace of His presence.
Reflect on these things anew; rest in My goodness and grace, and remain in Me always"
How can we awaken anew to the watching, waiting wonder of Advent?
As well as revisiting the biblical narrative (and maybe listening to a few Christmas songs to get me in the mood!), here are some of the things I have at hand to help me in this season:
1) Re-reading 'Touching Wonder:Recapturing the Awe of Christmas' by John Blase ~ a delightful, warm way of connecting to the humanity of Advent and the Nativity via insightful words, reflection and prayer.
2) Reading 'The Deep Place - where nobody goes:Connecting with God on the steps of my soul' by Jill Briscoe ~ and rediscovering the wonder and encouragement of being able to have a relationship and conversations with God.
3) Diving into 'Advent with St Francis:Daily Reflections' by Diane M.Houdek in an attempt to recover rest, simplicity and respect for the mystery of it all.
4) Seeking more spiritual whitespace by returning to the insights in, 'Finding Spiritual Whitespace:Awakening Your Soul to Rest' by Bonnie Gray and making room for resting in God as part of needful self-soul-care.
5) Savouring 'A Faraway Smell of Lemon - A Christmas Short Story' by Rachel Joyce (author of 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry) as a way to rediscover the human pangs and joys of Christmas.
As you can see, an awful lot of reading and contemplation could be going on as I dip in and out of these books! Maybe my desires will crash under the weight of them. Time will tell..
How about you? Are you entering Advent with anticipation or grim determination?
Feel free to share what helps (or hinders) your faith-walk in this busy season. I love to hear from you.
I'm linking here today with Janis for Sunday Stillness and with Charlotte for Spiritual Sundays. You are warmly invited to join us.