The Irony of a Too Busy Advent
By Beth Demme
I read a prayer the other day that has really stayed with me: “As water is restless until it reaches its level, so the soul has not peace until it rests in God.” It’s by Sundar Singh and if you happen to be a United Methodist you can find it on page 423 of the Hymnal (that’s one of those book things that has songs and other stuff in it; I realize they are nearly extinct in some churches).
In this busy, busy season my soul longs for peace, but this poetic prayer reminds me I can find peace only when I rest in God.
Is it just me or is Advent too busy for resting in God? Am I the only one who feels taking time to rest in/with God is just too dog-gone time consuming right now?
I know Advent should be about preparing our hearts and minds for the coming of our Savior, but instead I tend to make it about decorating, buying presents, baking cookies, sending out Christmas cards, going to fun parties, signing up for Health Insurance before December 15th, you know—the usual Advent stuff.
The truth is, the busy-ness of the Advent season can dull our senses to God’s abiding presence.
And I wonder, is that what I want? On some level, do I want to be distracted from the truth of how much I need a Savior? Is it so hard to admit that I need God that, instead, I fill my day with anything and everything except resting in God.
One of my Seminary professors assigned one.more.book before the end of the semester and, even though it wasn’t at all about Advent, something I read in it helped me see the irony of my too busy Advent season. The author, Jason Vickers, writes:
We pride ourselves on being independent and self-sufficient, on not having to wait on anyone or anything—including God—to get the job done.
I’m too busy, too rushed, too independent and too self-sufficient to wait on anyone else, including God.
And yet, Advent is a season that should be all about waiting on God. Vickers says:
Most of all we forget that our resolve to be in control has devastating consequences. It is our determination to be independent by being in control that makes us unavailable to God.
How ironic that in a church season all about waiting on God and preparing for the coming of Christ, I instead make myself unavailable to God.
I think that is why Sundar Singh’s prayer especially spoke to me and continues to speak to me. Instead of sloshing around in busy-ness, I need to take time to be still. I need to let the waters of my soul reach level and find peace. There’s no better way to prepare for the coming of the Lord.
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