November fog invades my brain, stealing away brightness, coating all in its dreary gloom. Seasons affect us more than we know. Each one leaves a footprint of their presence. This season my soul needs quiet, and my body craves rest.
And my spirit thirsts after the place where I converse with God, on the doorstep of my heart. I’m seeking after sacred pauses, making way for holy moments in the everyday. As my health has declined, I have needed to withdraw quite a bit from social media interaction, groups and conversations. I’ve also missed the quiet times and places where my soul speaks with God.
Though it’s what I’ve needed more than anything, it’s also been a casualty of the storms of life. ‘Quiet Time’ ceased to be such as my fog-brained, pain-filled body yearned for sleep, became preoccupied and anxious. Praying was reduced to quick-fire cries for help.
These needs cannot be ignored. We pine and die inside without letting the Light in. Because a weary mind and body need His strength to go on, don’t they? There’s a shift beneath the surface of my slow, sluggish days. A stirring toward all my soul desires to stay sane, stable and at rest. An acknowledgement that I am lost and lonely when I fail to spend quality time with God.
I want to awaken to Advent. To savour the season without the world’s noise intruding strong, and resist its clarion call to excess consumption. As I try to still my heart, listen to the One whom my soul loves and runs after, I sense Him whispering solace to me.
“Be aware, watchful, and prepared. The King is coming. He is with you. Keep your eyes peeled and your heart receptive. Don’t let it grow hard or cold. Allow a Holy longing to touch mystery seep slow into your soul and invade mind and spirit.
A new morn dawns in the history of mankind. It’s a new day to rejoice and be glad, for your God is with you and He is mighty to save. You have reason for humble thanksgiving. Come closer. Arrive empty. Come freely. Respond frequently. I will fill you to overflowing.
My throne room is always open to you and you will find a warm welcome here. Spend your precious energy in seeking Me. I will refuel you. Lavish attention on My glorious provision. Because I will give you all your soul longs for.
Whisper it loud. Joy is here for all to share. There are no beggars in My Kingdom. This sacred place makes space for all who hunger and thirst for Me. And in this Advent season, all who seek Me with their whole heart will find Me.
Celebration occurs over every soul who makes way for the King to live within. Share your words, your heart, and the promises fulfilled in Jesus, My Son. Your watching, waiting and praying will have their reward.
As your heart makes room for the King of kings, it will be filled and flooded with the love, joy and peace of His presence. Reflect on these things anew. Rest in My goodness and grace, and remain in Me always”
How can we awaken anew to the watching, waiting wonder of Advent?
As well as revisiting the biblical narrative (and maybe listening to a few Christmas songs to get me in the mood!), here are some of the things I have at hand to help me in this season:
1) Re-reading Touching Wonder:Recapturing the Awe of Christmas by John Blase ~ a delightful, warm way of connecting to the humanity of Advent and the Nativity via insightful words, reflection and prayer.
2) Reading The Deep Place – where nobody goes:Connecting with God on the steps of my soul by Jill Briscoe ~ and rediscovering the wonder and encouragement of being able to have a relationship and conversations with God.
3) Diving into Advent with St Francis:Daily Reflections by Diane M.Houdek in an attempt to recover rest, simplicity and respect for the mystery of it all.
4) Seeking more spiritual whitespace by returning to the insights in, Finding Spiritual Whitespace:Awakening Your Soul to Rest by Bonnie Gray and making room for resting in God as part of needful self-soul-care.
5) Savouring A Faraway Smell of Lemon – A Christmas Short Story by Rachel Joyce (author of ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry) as a way to rediscover the human pangs and joys of Christmas.
As you can see, an awful lot of reading and contemplation could be going on as I dip in and out of these books! Maybe my desires will crash under the weight of them. Time will tell..
How about you? Are you entering Advent with anticipation or grim determination? Feel free to share what helps (or hinders) your faith-walk in this busy season. I love to hear from you. I’m linking here today with Janis for Sunday Stillness and with Charlotte for Spiritual Sundays. You are warmly invited to join us.
How do I enter Advent? I enter by carefully putting down what has kept my mind anxious. And yet, it's difficult, for as I prepare to see the infant King, I have also been preparing to see another infant, one I'm told will not live. And yet, I feel I am to pray. After all, I'm Grandma.The quiet. He can be found in the quiet. It's our job to silence everything around us so we will be able to hear the cattle lowing. So we will be able to slip into the stable to see Him. The one who came for us.
Anne, you touch on a needful thing for many of us. To enter Advent "by carefully pulling down what has kept my mind anxious" is a great place to start. I also appreciate the huge difficulties this particular season presents for you and your family as you await the birth of your new granddaughter. Praying draws us closer to God's side. As you so rightly say, "He can be found in the quiet". And as we come to him in the quiet spaces and places of our days, God will make Himself known to us. He came down to earth for our sake and He comes closer still by abiding in our minds and hearts. Thinking of you as you seek the sanctuary of the stable and find Him waiting for you with open arms. Blessings and love. Xx
OH, I am so clinging to the quietness. But I resonate with you , in that right now I am in a battle within and it is as if my very body is working against me…I do not have the physical challenges you do at the moment, but since my accident (10-31-14), I have found myself continuously unfocused, tempted toward anger and frustrated with much. My longing for quietude strong, and a battle wages against the very nature of it. You bless me with your beautiful words…I am sharing- so often I feel we have similar yet distinctive spiritual promptings. Blessings for a beautiful Thanksgiving and Advent season, Joy!
Hello Dawn. It's a pleasure to find you here, my friend! And bringing your own sweet observations on the season. How hard it must be for you to seek after quiet so earnestly yet feel you have so little rest in your spirit right now. I feel for you and share this battle in many ways. Life presents us with tremendous challenges to press through as we make our faith journey and each one gives us opportunity to grow in the midst of the grief.You have blessed me with your own beautiful words today and I see the ways in which you are growing strong on the inside despite (maybe because?) of the trials you are going through and the way you lean hard on the Lord to help you. May you be greatly blessed by His joy and peace in the celebration days ahead. 🙂 Xx