Why Stillness for Advent?

Photo by Jessica Lewis from Pexels

Silent night, holy night

All is calm, all is bright.

There is something counter-cultural about stillness.  For all of the apps and articles helping us to focus on mindfulness and being present, the caroler’s refrain that “all is calm, all is bright” continues to elude us.

Calm in a world of anxiety.

Peace in a 24/7 cycle of ‘breaking news.’

Rest from racing thoughts, frenetic activity, worry.

I do believe these are the very gifts that Christmas offers; the gifts that would be at the top of our wish list if we dared to ask for them.  Gifts not wrapped in foil paper or tucked deep in Christmas stockings, but discovered in the gentle steadying of God’s outstretched hand, in the blanketing warmth of God’s abiding presence.  Gifts we miss because we are not still long enough to receive them.

I spent a good bit of time yesterday catching the best Cyber Monday deals I could find, layering ‘Doorbuster’ discounts on top of promo codes on top of cash back offers.  It was the thrill of the hunt and the joy of buying a present for someone I loved that I know will put a smile on their face come Christmas morning.

But the best gift of my day was far different.  It was found in the two minutes I spent around noon practicing stillness; this Advent practice of #GrowingStill.  There was nothing magical in the moment.  No beautiful snowfall or sunset or roaring fire in a fireplace to create an atmosphere of peace.  Just a chair at my desk, the frustrations of an unfinished project pushed to the side for the moment, and the silencing both of my cell phone and my rambling and somewhat self-defeating thoughts.

Choosing stillness.

Creating space to be, to be present.

Allowing what really doesn’t matter to sift through the empty places in my mind and spirit like sand through my fingers, lightening the load, distinguishing substance from noise, truth from tales, urgent from important.

Making room for whatever way Christ may choose to be born in me.  Through me.

I hope you are Growing Still this Advent.

For those who want to try, I invite you to keep it simple.  Pick a place.  Set a timer – one minute for each date on the calendar.  (Today is three minutes).  Simply be.

Dare to desire the true gifts of Christmas.  Make room for the peace and rest and hope of God.


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