Advent provides a sense of peace and joyful anticipation as we wait out the true meaning of Christmas: The Incarnation of God the Son . . . or at least it should be that! So what do we do with all the time spent waiting? Are we focused on the arrival of Jesus or do we spend our time in anxiety with all the tangible matters we need to attend to?
Take time along the way to smell the flowers.
My 20-year-old son, Scott, has always taken his time in everything he does. From the time he was small, I have always described him as the one who would “take time along the way to smell the flowers.” Though I have failed in trying to get him to be speedier, he has never changed. But I have come to appreciate that about him.
I, on the other hand, am a very impatient person. My mom gets frustrated with me when I stop in for a visit and then tell her I cannot stay long. I’m always racing to go from one activity to the next, pressed for time. Therefore I tend to get uptight and anxious about not being able to get things done.
Years ago, I vowed not to spend time waiting in lines for Christmas shopping. This year, however, my oldest son, Dominic, asked me to go shopping with him on Black Friday. I took the opportunity to spend time with my son and actually went. Surprisingly, we were able to make some gift purchases that entailed no waiting in lines. And the best part of the day was the hug I got from Dominic for sharing my time with him!
There was also a wait of a different nature this year. A friend’s father had kidney failure and was given a week to live. Family members were at his bedside showering him with love and affection until a week later when he took his last breath. Waiting for the death of a loved one is a time you never want to rush.
For the first time in my life, I am prepared for my Christmas day family celebration early. The presents have been wrapped and nestled under our tree before December even began! So, for Advent, I plan to spend my stress-free time waiting with the real meaning of Christmas. Already, I was able to attend our parish penance service. And I now have time to help my mom with post-op recuperation. I’m also available to assist my friends who are mourning the loss of their loved one.
I wish you all a joyous and merry Christmas. I hope that you, too, can make the most of your Advent time this year: anticipating the birth of Jesus. Instead of getting lost in the commercialization of this season, I hope that you can take time along the way to smell the flowers! (Or maybe, given the season, you can smell the pine trees!)