How is your Advent going? Last week I talked about doing less for Advent so that you could pray more and enjoy the readings more, and enter more deeply into the liturgical season. Now I know for some of you that may not seem to be much of an option. If you have a family, perhaps a big extended family or a family with young children, Christmas may be the busiest time of year. So even if you can’t quite pull back on those kinds of responsibilities, I would invite you to carve out some time for yourself for prayer and meditation. In fact, if you’re super busy at Christmas, that may be all the more reason to give yourself some private, one on one time with God. St. Francis de Sales, the story goes, was once asked how long people should pray. “A half hour,” he is supposed to have said. “Unless the person is busy. If they’re busy, then they should pray for an hour.”
What is often helpful during Advent is to let one passage from the Daily or Sunday readings take root in you. For me, it’s often a passage from the Book of Isaiah, with its wonderful pastoral imagery of the dry lands blooming and deserts becoming oases. For you, it might be from one of the Gospels. This week for example, we hear about Jesus’s forerunner, John the Baptist, who comes saying, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” That could be your meditation for the entire Advent season. Every day, in prayer, you might ask yourself, “How am I preparing the ‘way of the Lord’ in my own life, and how am I helping others do so in their lives?” Advent could be a time for you to pray more simply, but also more deeply. Happy Advent.