December 2, 2010

Tis the season of: Overload?

I’m a creature of habit. Regardless of when Advent begins, to me, December 1 is the ‘official’ start date of the season. Time seems to be in ample supply; balancing family, work, chores, and preparation for Christmas seems oh so do-able.

And then life happens. My mother is coming for the weekend and the guest room needs to be cleaned. I make my to do list: shopping, decorating, making end of year donations, should I plan a holiday party? First on the list: ordering gifts online, decorating, and putting candles in the window.

A work project takes longer than expected; the gifts aren’t ordered and the candles are still in the box. And then there are the Christmas cards. I want to get them out before Christmas this year. I want to get everything on my list done immediately. I’m feeling overwhelmed. And it is only December 2.

Does this sound familiar? In this season of waiting, I struggle with balance. Okay, I struggle with balance most of year, more so at this time of the year.

And then, checking my email, I find this gift from the Episcopal Church’s Young Adult and Campus Ministries: “Journey Advent 2010,” an Advent meditation guide offering daily scripture, reflection, and prayer written by Episcopal young adults from all around the world.

Today’s meditation resonates:

Jesus stood up and commanded the wind, “Be quiet!” and he said to the waves, “Be still!” The wind died down and there was a great calm. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Why are you frightened? Do you still have no faith?” —Mark 4.39-41

Advent is a voyage. Like any trip, there can be periods of waiting and preparation. We will be called on, one day, when we least expect it. It’s our responsibility to do what we can to make sure we are ready to answer the call. It is difficult not knowing where to begin or where we will end up. While out over the water, the disciples planned and made preparations for a safe journey yet despite that a sudden storm threatened their existence. They forgot to pack the most important item, their faith. Jesus reminds us to have faith, it we keep ours; even forces that are beyond our control will not be able to stop us. When we put our faith in Jesus the storm will be calm and there will be nothing to fear.

Lord be with us as we venture out. The roads may be broken and the seas may be rough, but with your guidance we will not fall. Help us to be strong in our faith so that we can be with you always. Amen.

By Shawn Andre Evelyn, Diocese of Los Angeles

This meditation reminds me that the journey is as important as the destination and how different the journey is when one savors the experience rather than rushing through it.

“Journey” is my Advent guide of choice for 2010. If you still haven’t found yours, perhaps one of these online resources will help you stay centered during this period of waiting:

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