A while back I heard a minister preach an Advent sermon called "Hurry Up and Wait." He began by telling the story of a man who got so caught up in the busyness of the season that he went into a card store and grabbed the first Christmas cards he could find. He quickly signed all 49 of them and mailed them out as fast as he could -- not wanting to get behind with all the things he had to do before Christmas arrived. It wasn't until Christmas Eve that he sat down to read one of the cards he had sent out. He opened it up to find these words: "This card is just to say, a little gift is on its way!" Sometimes it doesn't pay to hurry.
The season leading up to Christmas is one in which we are all pushed to hurry and get things done. Even the countdown to Christmas which ends tonight, tells us how many fewer days we have left for shopping. That alone is enough to drive us a little crazy. Yet, the message of the season of Advent says something that seems counterintuitive: wait, slow down, pay attention to the here and now. Advent is a time of preparation to celebrate the coming of Christ into our lives anew, but the best way to do that is not to hurry up, but to slow down. What works against us is our anxiety over many things - not getting enough gifts, not meeting expectations, and wondering if we will "do" Christmas well this year. Yet, the word of God that leads to peace and joy invites us to wait and watch. Slow down and pay attention to God breaking into the everyday events of our world. If we spend our time hurrying, we may miss what is really important.
No one in the Christmas story seems to be in a hurry. Maybe that should tell us something.
Prayer for Today
Loving God, slow us down to pay attention and see where you are present in our lives this day. We pray this in the name of Jesus, whose birth we celebrate. Amen.