Recently I was part of a small group study using the book Saint Benedict on the Freeway by Corinne Ware. Thinking about the way Benedictines pray at certain times of the day has inspired me to infuse more of my day with set times for prayer. Beginning that practice with the season of Advent seems especially relevant, because I really want this Advent season to be one of waiting and watching for God.
I’ve been wondering why it is that I am so deliberate in my individual preparation for Easter Sunday through the season of Lent, but during Advent my preparation for the birth of Jesus is haphazard. In Lent I add in spiritual disciplines to crowd out some of the worldly activities that otherwise fill my time. I consider regularly the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross and how my sinfulness caused his suffering. Lent becomes for me a season of contemplation and interior preparation.
Why shouldn’t Advent bring the same attentiveness? My preparation for the birth of Jesus, the Word made flesh, is often all exterior. I clean and cook and shop and socialize. I prepare my home for guests but I fail to prepare my heart for the most important Guest of all.
I am part of a group that is studying the Advent Conspiracy. In the video we watched last night, a person who had participated in Advent Conspiracy for a couple of years spoke of how she had previously found her joy in the shopping and crowds, but she now makes space for Jesus to come and dwell within her heart and it has changed the source of her joy and how she prepares for Christmas.
My desire for this Advent season is to make the time, through regular times for prayer during each day, for Jesus to come and dwell within me. I want my heart to be a stable prepared for him, and I want to wait and watch for him to come and be born anew in me.