Original post at http://wrestledwithangels.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/advent-the-season-to-de-clutter/
We have entered the season of Advent. Advent is a season of four weeks before the celebration of Christmas. The season proclaims the coming of Christ – whose birth we prepare to celebrate once again, who comes continually in Word and Spirit, and whose return in final victory we anticipate. Advent is a season of preparation. I appreciate Advent because I need that time to prepare for the celebration of Christmas. For me, without the Advent season, Christmas would just pass by without much notice. It is the season of making sure I have things in order. Advent is about getting back to the basics. It is a period to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.
Advent gives me time to consider what Christmas is all about. For most Christmas is about shopping malls, buying the biggest and most expensive gifts, sitting in traffic, rushing from one Christmas party to the next, and storing up things. The Christmas to which Advent points is about a star, shepherds, angels, good news, a babe lying in a manger, and God with us.
We live lives of clutter. We have substituted living with a cluttered existence. We live in a time when everyone is obsessed with lack of time, lack of space, with saving time, conquering space. Thomas Merton, Catholic Monk, said, “We are numbered in billions, and massed together, marshaled, numbered, marched here and there, taxed, drilled, armed, worked to the point of insensibility, dazed by information, drugged by entertainment, surfeited with everything, nauseated with the human race and with ourselves, nauseated with life. There is no room for quiet. There is no room for solitude. There is no room for thought. There is no room for us to live.”
Advent gives us the time needed to de-clutter before we can celebrate the birth of the Christ child. Christ cannot be heard in the midst of all the clutter of life. We read the phrase “no room in the inn” as a negative statement but could it be that having no room in the inn is a good thing? Someone asked, “Is it possible that if Christ was to be born in the inn among the mass of people that he would have gotten lost in the chaos?” He was born exactly where he could be heard. He was born in a place where the message could be heard by one’s who were ready to hear it – “the shepherds keeping their watch by night.” We need the stillness of life to hear the voice of Christ.
In Psalm 46:10 God says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” It is hard to remember that God is God when we are running around acting like the world depends on us. Another way of saying it could be, “Be still, and know that you are not God.”
My challenge for you this Advent season is to spend time de-cluttering. Among all the clutter of shopping malls, Christmas parties, and traffic jams, set aside time and space to prepare for the message of Christmas. Each week, for the next four weeks, let the Spirit of Christ speak words of hope, peace, joy, and love into your life.
“In him was life, and the life was the light of all people” John 1:4.