Advent and the Gift of Waiting

“At this Christmas when Christ comes, will Hefind a warm heart? Mark the season of Advent by loving and serving the otherswith God's own love and concern.”  ~ MotherTeresa

Advent begins next Sunday.  The Hallmark Channel is providing continuous Christmas movies, people are hanging up calendars to mark the days until Christmas, while decorations abound in stores, homes and on lighted streets. Holiday music is playing on the radio.  But Advent is about waiting for Christmas.  This is a different kind of waiting than the annoying kind we experience so frequently like hours sitting in doctors offices, and long lines for at airports.   Advent is about joyful anticipation.

The kind of waiting that we are called toexperience during Advent is both focused and alert.  It is being present in the moment anddeliberate in our actions.  We are askedto participate during this holy time by being more attentive to the people inour lives, actively listening to our families, taking extra measures to be kindand considerate, and by being unselfish as we touch the lives of strangers.  This is challenging and can only be done ifwe slow down and take our steps thoughtfully. For hidden in these days of Advent,amid planning, rushing and overdoing, is the gentle spirit of peace.