Monday, November 30, 2015

A Mindful Advent: Please Wait, Here

Be serious. What's to laugh at? Advent has begun and its real meaning is so far from the Black-Friday today's Cyber-Monday it's hardly funny. So what is the moniker for Advent?

By definition of time and purpose, Advent is twenty-six days of waiting and expectation: a reason to do the exact opposite of what commercial culture asks us to do: pause. Please wait, here.

But we don't. How can we possibly pause with email reminders of greater discounts and hours and one more day to spend more and save less. Or we can spend less time going there, all of the places they tell us we need to go and spend more time...Here.

Please wait, here. Here in this moment. If we are really listening to the reason for this season of Advent, we are listening to a request to pause, wait and think. We are asked to wait for the news of a bright star, a mother, a father and a Baby. Just wait.

Waiting is the best kind of meditation. A call to be still, to center your mind and remember to breathe.   The wait brings us the quietest moments of our day: in line, waiting to be next, in a queue on a call, waiting for a human, in bed, waiting for sleep to come. Quiet the mind and know that all you really have to do in this moment of is be present and breathe. The lists will get shorter and the worries will dissipate. Real meaning comes when we are focused and calm.

Like every sunrise, What Child is this we are waiting for? This Boy-Teacher who carries love and compassion in his future, like other teachers before him and others after him, he is just a human, living in truth, putting care and concern for others first and teaching us how to love. And this month, this season of Advent we wait for him so we can begin to Listen.

Please Wait, Here. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Mindful Advent: One Candle

Watchful waiting, a mindful Advent. If we are truly awake and alive our December is one of pause, gratefulness and peace: one of realizing how precious it is to have these days anticipating one coming or another.

It begins with the light of one candle. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." [John 8:12 
As a seeker of the sunrise, this first light is cherished, especially on the coldest mornings of the year. This first light is the promise of today, of warmth, hope, a calling and a coming, as it is every morning and in this Advent. Ever-present, as it is on this first day of Advent, as "continuous as the stars that shine and twinkle on the Milky Way" [Daffodils, William Wordsworth Longfellow this light says "Yes, I am here, I am coming. Be peaceful". 

Be peaceful. I have been studying about mood lately: how mood informs our capacity for the possibility of our lives. This Advent we can choose a mood of hope or one of despair. And as we learned in Fr. George Luck's poignant sermon this morning at St. Matthew's Cathedral Church: "Hope only comes when we are ready for a change."

Be peaceful. Be ready. be prepared: prepared for a different season of Advent. We have the gift of 27 days. I am hopeful this Advent will be different. 

I am hopeful this Advent will be simple: as simple as the age-old practice of lighting a candle. One candle. The one that lights the beautiful faces of children, the one that lights our table, our homes, our temples and churches. This universal practice is the start of a change: a glorious change in all of us. Light one candle for us: knowing that the dawn of a change is coming. We are aware and we will be ready.