Meghan Gray of Blue Springs, MO, USA
But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to rule in Israel,
whose origin is from of old,
from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labor has brought forth;
then the rest of his kindred shall return
to the people of Israel.
And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the LORD,
in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.
And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth;
and he shall be the one of peace. -Micah 5:2-5a
Recently I took a road trip with my best friend. While excited to spend several days exploring with her, I was a little averse to spending 16 hours in the car! It was such a long and exhausting wait to endure before the vacation could begin.
Setting off I anticipated all the adventures we’d have. What would the city be like? Wouldn’t it be nice to not make my own bed or cook any meals for a few days! My thoughts were not in the moment, but ahead to the destination-exploring the city and getting away from everyday life!
At some point on that long drive, I realized I had a unique opportunity. Instead of waiting anxiously for our destination, I could use these moments alone with my friend to learn how she was doing. We had already spent time sharing our latest triumphs at work and worries about parenting, laughing at a podcast, and singing along to old favorites on the radio. But now I could hear how she was really doing.
Since my friend is a very private person, it’s not often that a “how are you” gets a deep response. But in the long private drive of the car she opened up to me. She shared many of her struggles, we talked about options for help, and I said a quiet prayer for her. I thanked God for the time I spent with her, alone and attentive.
How often are we distracted from the possibilities of waiting because of concern about the next big event or important task? During Advent it’s very easy to focus on our destination-Christmas. Distractions abound-baking, shopping, wrapping, celebrating, church services. What if we change our perspective to recognize that this season of waiting is just as important? God invites us to slow down, pay attention, and notice ways we can help Christ be born again in our world.
Advent Prayer Phrase
“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord” (Psalm 31:24).
Advent Spiritual Practice
Breathe deeply and spend a few moments inviting silence to deepen around you. Pay attention to what is forming in you this day as you prayerfully consider the following questions: What awareness or gift begins to emerge in you through the practice of waiting? When do you notice being invited to resist rushing to the next thing and remain present with what may be slowly unfolding? What can you learn from being fully present in the waiting times?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.