In preparation for Advent, the Associates and Sisters of Mentor Team 24, the central Ohio team for ongoing formation, will choose a theme each week of Advent for reflection. Multiple members of the team will work together to write the blogs so please tune in each Monday. This week we are preparing for Christmas. We are always the stable into which the Christ is born anew. All we need to do is keep our stable honest, humble and open and the Christ child will surely be born in us. Let’s explore the ways we can prepare….
Preparation for an event requires hard work. If I am expecting a guest, there is a lot of work to be done in advance. I must remove the clutter that somehow always finds its way all over my home. After I declutter, I can begin the cleaning process which is more in-depth when company is coming. As I look at my home through a visitor’s eye, I may see the need to shop for fresh throw pillows, flowers or other items that will make my home appear and feel more inviting. Once the house is sparkling, I plan for the refreshments, this is another process of shopping, preparing, and displaying. Finally, I shower, dress, and wait patiently for my guest’s arrival.
This is an Advent season like no other in our lifetime. The stress of a national pandemic has weighed heavily on each of us. Any other year we may find ourselves busy with all the preparations of the holiday season and focusing on how we can not only prepare for Christ but for our family and friends, however, this year is different. For many, this is a year that they have lost loved ones and have not had the opportunity to properly grieve or celebrate their life. Many are grieving the loss of a job or even a workplace that was a familiar safe space to go to every day. Many are physically distancing themselves from friends and family to protect one another but long for their physical presence and touch. These losses and feelings of isolation, although difficult, give us an opportunity to focus undistracted on truly preparing our hearts this Advent season.
Preparing for the birth of Christ requires more preparation than any special guest. Preparation includes assessing my activities, my reading materials, my thoughts and determining what is valuable and what is clutter? Asking myself if my busy movement is necessary or should I be spending more time in contemplation so my actions can be more focused? What needs to be cleaned up in my interior to be a welcoming place for Christ? I may need to reevaluate my impatience with someone or a grudge I have been harboring to be prepared. I may need to set aside my pleasure reading novels for a later time to seek books to study that will enlighten my understanding and deepen my faith.
Preparing for the ever-renewing birth of Christ may require some detachment. Detaching from our worries, anxieties and frantic holiday preparations requires discipline. Detaching from our vision of what the result will be and leaving that in our Savior’s hands will surely yield better outcomes than any we could make by hand. Spending time meditating on the gift called Jesus, in expectation, will certainly help me to prepare! This Advent season make a list as you would for any event you prepare for and list all the activities that need to occur before your most precious guest. After this preparation, I am ready to wait patiently for Christ’s arrival.