By Rev. Val Kenyon
I have heard that often those who live next to train tracks can, with time, become so accustomed to its noise, that they no longer hear the train as it passes.
How is it that certain experiences can become just part of the background noise in our lives, so familiar that we no longer hear or see them?
In particular as we enter this season of Advent, a season through which we have passed many times, how do we stay awake to the wonder that is Advent and to all the ‘rumblings’ this season strives to stir within us? While the answer will not be the same for everyone, during this time when we are called to prepare ourselves for the celebration of God’s most incredible gift to humanity in the coming of Jesus, what if we were to train our attention, to focus afresh, if even just for a moment? What if by way of Advent devotional this year, we were to cultivate within our day some moments for simple practices, even if just in one-minute segments, a one-minute spirituality for our age?
What if as we hurry out of our homes to get all those errands done, what if we stopped for just a moment to observe something in nature, to stop and really see it, just for a moment, noting the sight and the scent of the season and in that moment allowing ourselves to become aware of the gift of God’s creation to us, and to be thankful?
What if in a moment of worry (we all have lots of those), instead of allowing ourselves to rush to worse case scenarios, what if in that moment, for just a moment, we take a deep breath … and remind ourselves that God is with us and with those we love, present in each and every moment, allowing ourselves to experience that assurance even if just for the moment?
What if as we dash around in our cars whenever we come to a red light, we allowed that moment to be a time where we stop to consider those things in our lives that we would like to give over to God, those things that do not serve us but rather weigh upon us down, often preventing us from moving forward?
What if every time you met someone, or shook someone’s hand over the next four weeks you intentionally remembered that that person, standing before you at that very moment, was created in the image of God, and contained something of God’s light in them?
What if as you rise (albeit with great difficulty some times) to the buzzing of your alarm each morning, what if you were to say with the psalmist , “This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it!”? What if embracing the Gospel message to ‘be awake’ this season, what if we did just that?
What if we intentionally gave ourselves to entering into what is in effect a time of prayer, even if just for the moment, a prayer that reconnects us, refreshes us, and revives us? And while these kind of practices can be beneficial far beyond Advent what if we were to give ourselves these moments, how different might this season be for us, how different might we be as we allow God’s Spirit to work in and through us as we await the coming of the Christ child to Bethlehem, as we await the coming the Christ child to our hearts?
Rev. Val Kenyon is AFP diocesan representative.