Advent as Spiritual Preparation and Renewal

Today’s devotional is offered by our friend, Dennis Herman

I am asking myself some serious questions this year before I rush out to celebrate “the most wonderful time of the year!” The reason I am asking those questions now is because I often find myself weary, grumpy, and burned out before Christmas Day arrives and I really do want this to be the most wonderful time of the year.

One of the practices of the medieval church was to look at Advent as a time of preparation. It was actually referred to as “little Lent” as it attempted to duplicate the time of discipline and preparation the Church has traditionally known before Easter as the Lenten season. I wonder if we can focus on Advent as a time to prepare, watch, be ready, stay alert, be more fit physically and spiritually.

Therefore, I share with you the following questions I am asking myself as I anticipate this Advent and Christmas season:

–Can I find a quiet spot to sit still and pray each day? This may involve getting up a few minutes earlier or staying up a few minutes later, but the spiritual discipline to stop and pray and meditate will help to spiritually frame this Christmas season.

–Can I cut back on the times I check email, Facebook, and use social media and devote that time to reading the Christmas narratives from the Gospels?

–Do I have to say “yes” to every invitation to a party or dinner? Maybe a quiet evening or afternoon on weekends will be more beneficial and renewing than another event. –

-Can I remember to exercise, walk, or play a game or sport I enjoy?

–Can I pay a visit to someone in the hospital, retirement community, or nursing home?

–Can I worry less about gifts, decorations, and festivities? Maybe mail order gifts, handcrafted gifts, or a gift of time will be better than another shopping trip.

–Can I commit these days of Advent and Christmas to the worship and service of God? Can each worship service be an opportunity to celebrate the week of service and prayer that precedes it?

Prayer: Loving God, in this season help me to care for others and to care for myself. In doing so, may I show more clearly how I care for Christ.