Webster's Dictionary defines the word advent as "a coming into being" (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition). "A coming into being." That's what I'm in need of right now. I need to slow down, to live in the moment, to appreciate the small things -- the warmth and light of a candle flame, the tiny fingers of a newborn baby, the quiet stillness of the dawn, the enthusiastic smiles of children. I need to prepare my heart, to make my spirit ready for the birth of the Messiah.
We all need this time of Advent to slow down, to open our ears to God's quiet voice, to guide us through the chaos of the consumerist culture that Christmas has become. As we make our way through this busy season, let us allow God to shape our minds and hearts -- to become a part of God's "coming into being" in Jesus' birth.