Like many spiritual teachers Becca Stevens, an Episcopal priest here in Nashville, recently called attention to the paradox of the Christmas rush and compared it to the original intent of Advent, that time in the Christian calendar that precedes Christmas. In her piece in The Tennessean, she reminded readers that Advent is a time of watching and waiting, anticipating new birth.
Watching and waiting. I’m not usually a “waiter” and I bet you aren’t either. In our culture we praise people who “get the job done”. Yet her words curled up and made a nest in my mind.
Watching and waiting. The words seemed to carry an invitation. They transcended Christianity and reached outward. I thought of the Jews experiencing the miracle of the oil for the Temple, lasting not just one day but eight days. Watching and waiting. Hanukkah celebrates that event and comes from the Hebrew word “Khanu” meaning “and they rested”.
When we rush around from party to party, store to store, wrapping up year end deals and fulfilling all the expectations that our culture, our families and we ourselves have, there is precious little space to watch and wait.
Pause. Accept an invitation to openness. Openness to possibility. Openness to what is emerging – in your mind, your heart and your spirit. This year, give your self the gift of watching and waiting. And for a moment, allow the peace and calm the writer of that Christmas carol speaks of to roll over you.
O little town of Bethlehem how still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
And in that place of deep peace, if only for a moment watch and wait and see what emerges.
Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday whatever it may be. And if you can, give yourself the precious gift of watching and waiting.
Until next Tuesday. YIPPEE!