How are you doing this Advent?
Are you taking time to prepare your heart for the Savior?
It’s so easy to slip into a routine of busyness during the Advent season. It’s almost automatic, comfortable for us. There is always an event to plan, a gift to buy, a card to write, a service project to coordinate. If we aren’t careful, we can blink and miss the season altogether.
But in the midst of what can become a time of frenzied preparation, we are invited to stop. To rest. To feel the nearness of the Lord, the nearness that was felt by all those in the stable.
Each of us is a minister because we had an encounter with the Lord. The One who brings us peace that the world cannot provide. The One who is always present to us, always receptive to our deepest longings. The One who calls us to be more, to trust ourselves to Him in order that He might do great things through us. The One who chose us to minister to His people.
He is near, dear friends, and He wants nothing more than to be welcomed into our lives and our hearts.
So how do we answer, in this season of ministry? How, practically, do we take time for ourselves and our prayer life? Here are a few ideas:
- Slow down your yes. Okay, I know this is easier said than done, but hear me out. Before committing to additional programs or responsibilities, take a moment to reflect on whether it serves your own spiritual life during this season. It’s not selfish to take moments of rest. Remember: you cannot give what you do not have.
- Make time for prayer each day. This is a given, as all ministers should have a healthy and active prayer life. During the season of Advent, try to set aside some extra time to spend with the Lord, perhaps at daily Mass or Adoration, opening yourself to His graces.
- Engage in spiritual reading or an Advent devotional. The liturgical seasons of Lent and Advent are a great time for focused reading and reflection. Even though there are only a couple weeks left of Advent, it’s not too late to pick up a book or start a daily prayer devotional. (Shoutout to the Behold Advent journal, which I’m using this year!)
- Don’t be afraid to delegate. Letting go is tough for some of us, especially when it feels as if our programs depend on us. During this season, offer these moments up to the Lord and trust that He will provide the people and resources. And remember: perfection is for heaven. The more intentional we are about creating holy spaces rather than planning perfect events, the more our communities will grow and flourish. Use this as an opportunity to recognize the gifts in others and invite them to be a participant in their own ministry.
- Take a moment each day to reflect. Look back at my initial question: “How are you doing this Advent?” I hope this isn’t the first time you have been asked that question, but for some of us, it is. I encourage you to take a moment each day, perhaps right before bed, to reflect on your day. Find the moments where God was at work. Recognize the gifts that were shared by you and others. Pay attention to areas where growth is needed. Ask the Lord to tend to the places that are hurt. And above all, give thanks for His constant and abiding presence in your life.
I hope you have a blessed Advent.
– Cassie Schutzer, director of the Young Adult Initiative