Advent has begun. And returning to the readings of the season, I’ve come back to a practice that I had forgotten. The cold weather has returned this week. It has gotten truly cold for the first time here in Nashville. Walking in the cold morning air, pulling my coat tightly up to keep my neck warm, the crisp smell of the air. My senses have brought the memory of Advent practice back to my heart. The Season, and especially the first week is all about waiting.
This morning I walked my path towards my workplace and felt the cold morning air in my face. I remembered the words to O Come, O Come Emmanuel and sang them quietly to my self. I felt in my body the season of waiting is upon me. In the cold stillness of Advent, my heart is called to this practice, to be still and reflect on my heart’s preparations. In the cold, things move more slowly. Everything seems to slow down and examination becomes easier. The air become clearer
These passed many months have not been a still time of waiting and reflection for me. I have been very busy in the doing of things. Children, Family, Marriage, School, Work, Practice. These are wonderful things I am blessed with in my life and I am grateful. Yet on this cold morning’s walk, I find that I have not spent a moment of looking deeply in a long time.
So what do I wait in this year? The usual comes up. Our whole lives are waiting. Indeed, our culture is constantly focused on the next thing, and not the present. We seem to be in a constant state of dissatisfied waiting. Waiting for God to tell me the plan for my life, waiting to find out if the path that I’ve chosen is the correct one, waiting in the loving indifference the universe has for our species, waiting for something to break into our world that has not been thought of before. Waiting for a future while making an effort to live in the present.
In my work, I am sit in waiting. Waiting for news of evidence of health or tragedy. I sit in the crisis time of others as they wait in agony without control. I wait as time heals. We all wait as the tragic events on our planet unfold. The forests are burning, the storms are raging and people appear to be tearing one another apart. And we act, but, mostly we wait. And hope.
So this is my morning practice that I had forgotten. To walk in the cold morning air at a quick pace, hopeful and anticipating good things to come. But my heart remains in the present, feeling the air on my skin, hearing the leaves on the ground, noticing the people around me in their own steps. Looking for the kingdom to come while realizing that I am surrounded by it. Act to heal and help, of course. But mostly, we pray and hope and wait for something to come that has not thought of before.