This year, the theme of Advent services at my church is “Be still.” It means we must clear our minds and be fully prepared to accept the meaning of Christmas: hope, joy, peace and love. Somehow today that message, read a few days ago in our church newsletter, spoke to me particularly today.
I am one who loves people around me. Although I value my days at home alone at work, I really long to be in the world. That’s the reason I have lunch and dinner with friends so often. I feed on people. And as you may have gathered, even though I live alone, my house is often like Grand Central Station. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Today Jordan was here (Jacob was propped up in my bed with the iPad) and three good friends, people I truly treasure, came for happy hour. One had a special reason to celebrate—a new job—and the other two were working through grief over loss of a family member and frantically (well, she was, not he) trying to catch up with holiday chores and plans. They will all be together Christmas Eve while I am with my family.
But today, as is often the case, they were loud in conversation. I turned my hearing aids down a notch but still didn’t hear all of it—and if I wanted to talk to the girls, the guys were talking over me. Suddenly, they all left for dinner appointments and other plans, and there I still sat in my living room. Savoring the silence. Sophie came to be petted, and we sat together for a long time.
Mindfulness is a catch phrase these days, and yet tonight I realized that staying home alone—as I will much of this weekend—is not enough. It takes mindful stillness to prepare us for the gift of Advent, the gift of God’s love for us. In the next few days I plan to practice mindful stillness, preparing myself, appreciating God’s glory to us.
I pray for each of you to experience moments of silence, stillness that draw you beyond yourself.