Once again we find ourselves at the beginning of the Church year, in the Season of Advent, with Christmas approaching.
As the days become shorter here in the UK, and the Winter Solstice approaches, the nights become longer.
It is in contrast to this, that Advent, not only marks the coming of the ‘Light of the World’ in the Christ-child, but also, it heralds the Cycle of Light – Advent, Christmas, Epiphany. This cycle is followed by the Cycle of Life – Lent, Easter, Pentecost. Each cycle has a time of preparation, celebration and proclamation.
The preparations for Christmas seem to start earlier each year in the commercial world! The lights and decorations go up and there is Christmas music playing in the shopping centres. I have noticed this year, that many people began decorating their houses and gardens, with lights at the beginning of November.
It is a season of increased busyness. Perhaps even more so this year. Since here in the UK, the Corona virus restrictions and lockdowns of 2020, impacted and restricted the usual Christmas events and celebrations.
Among the hallmarks of the Way of the World are commercialism, consumerism and busyness. Yet Jesus calls his followers to a different way. One that includes the concepts of stewardship, simplicity and service.
With lots to do, in different spheres of our lives, it is easy to think, that we have no time for prayer and stillness and being in God’s presence.
Yet in my experience this is a false economy of time! I have found that if I spend time with God first, before the busyness of the day gets underway, then in an amazing way the tasks that have to be done that day….do somehow get done!
There are many small ways in which we can be still in the midst of the hurry and haste of the pre-Christmas rush. Here are 7 different ways to include stillness in a busy day.
- Advent Candle: Light a candle at a set time each day and sit and be still in God’s presence as the flame burns for a few minutes.
- Read: Spend time reading an Advent series/book/devotional.
- Hymn: Ponder for five minutes on a verse or verses from an Advent Hymn
- Midday Prayer: Set an alarm on your phone for 12 noon and pray The Lord’s Prayer.
- Coffee/Tea Break: Sit quietly with a hot drink of your choice. Mindfully drink your drink for ten minutes in God’s presence.
- Walk: Go for a short walk and take time to notice your surroundings and be thankful for what you can see and the people who pass you by.
- Breathing: Of course it is vital we keep breathing, not to do so has terminal consequences! But just sitting and slowly breathing in and out and repeating a Bible verse of your choice for five minutes, will give you a sense of peace and calm.
To help mitigate the busyness in the run up to Christmas, I have created a short meditation for you. It is called The Blessing. It will give you an opportunity to experience stillness, to encounter Jesus and to rest in his presence. It will enable you to feel calm and peaceful. It lasts just 10 minutes.
Here are a couple of responses from those who have already experienced it:
Thank you for your kind video message and meditation. We both sat down for the 10mins and it was wonderfully calming and peaceful. Canon J John
There’s something very lovely about being guided gently through a meditation … somehow, it’s much easier when someone takes you by the hand and gently leads, rather than trying to just set up a similar meditation without a guide. Thank you! That made for a great start to my day today. Mike Davies Urban Abbey
I hope The Blessing will live up to its name for you this Advent.