Seasonal Reflection: Advent, 2015

Reflecting on Peace


Patience, people, till the Lord is come.

from a hymn by John Foley, SJ

The word Advent comes from the Latin for coming; therefore, the season of Advent refers to Jesus’s coming—coming as a newborn, coming into our hearts, coming again. If we truly embrace Jesus, his coming should stir great excitement and eager anticipation. Like a child waiting for the arrival of a beloved grandparent or best friend or Santa, the hardest part about Jesus’s coming should be the waiting. We want his company NOW!

But Advent is also about patience, about using that waiting period to get ready, and that can be very hard. It’s hard to wait for anything we really want—and usually can’t control. Many of us are not very good at waiting, whether it’s as minor as waiting in line at a store, on a subway platform or at a bus stop, or as major as awaiting a new job, new home, or new baby. Ours is a culture of instant gratification, and when we don’t get it, the anxiety can reach unhealthful levels.

Of course, some of us do understand the part about getting ready; we just miss the part about patience. Consequently, we may get so caught up in the rush to shop, decorate, wrap gifts, write cards, cook and bake that we forget that patience means taking a deep breath, calming down, stepping back. What we should be preparing is ourselves, our souls, our spiritual being, and that can’t be rushed, nor does it require us to get swept up in the crowds, costs, and chaos of our consumer society.

This Advent, let’s try to focus more on our inner preparation and do so with patience—till the Lord is come, for he will surely come.

 

Prayer

A Prayer for an Even Temper

Lord,

Here I am facing a new day. I know that without yielding to your calmness and contentment, I will succumb to frustration and irritation. 

I seek your help today.

Make me more aware of my emotions and my attitudes. Remind me that I have control over the attitudes that I choose to present to the world.

Remind me that I can learn to overcome every challenging situation today by putting on the shoes of peace and displaying an even temper.

Remind me to show kindness.

Give me more ability to receive your love and give it away to others today.*

Help me to work hard and do my best. But help me to care more about loving others than I care about getting tasks done.

Lord, I want to grow spiritually this day. I want to be more Christ-like tonight when I go to bed than when I got up this morning.

Today I will focus on developing the fruit of the spirit instead of pleasing myself.

Today I will thank you, Lord, for leading me toward love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Today I will praise you, Lord, and I will celebrate your love for me.

In Jesus' name I pray,

Amen.

Copyright © 2012 Beth McLendon of Inspirational-Prayers.com
*Quote from Jack Frost of Shiloh Place Ministries - "God, help me to receive your love and give it away."
Scripture: Galatians 5:22




Suggested Actions

  • During this Advent season, make time for prayer every day. Say the prayer above. Also consider using one of many Advent reflection booklets, for example the one Pax Christi USA publishes, available at:
    http://paxchristiusa.3dcartstores.com/SINGLE-USE-E-VERSION-ADVENT-2015-DAILY-REFLECTIONS--THE-PROMISE-OF-LIGHT_p_294.html.

    Think about all you do to prepare for Christmas. Identify one thing that you can drop and eliminate it from your to-do list. Ease some of the pressure that distracts you from the true meaning of the season.

    Practice patience. Slow down. Concentrate on your breathing, taking deep slow breaths. Meditate. Recite Julian of Norwich’s mantra: “All shall be well. All shall be well. All manner of things shall be well” and believe it. Other possibilities: “Let go and let God.” “Be still and know that I am God.”

    When you do shop, especially for children, keep in mind that we are about to celebrate the birthday of the Prince of Peace. Choose accordingly. For ideas, read PCMNY’s flier on “giving from the heart".

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