I suspect most of us consider waiting as a rather passive activity and a state determined by events out of our control. We often find ourselves in situations where we must wait. Standing in line at the grocery. Sitting in our car in traffic. Counting the days until vacation. Waiting for the next event or appointment on our schedule. We probably don’t find joy in waiting.
I will admit that I feel a bit of irritation when someone says “Just wait.” I want to DO something, anything. Waiting seems wimpy and weak! Or at least it did for many years.
I am a seeker and I believe I have always been that way. I want to learn more and to grow and explore. I embrace a number of personally meaningful spiritual practices and beliefs yet, during this time of the year, I feel a longing to wrap myself in the blanket of my spiritual roots in Christianity.
Christmas can be a mixed bag of emotions for me. I’ve experienced years which have been difficult to navigate, years of losses and limited resources. I discovered in those times that when I focused on the real meaning of Christmas, I experienced peace and joy in a deeper way.
For as long as I can remember I never really enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the shop till you drop black Friday sales. I’ve always loved the glow of lights on a tree and driving through neighborhoods looking at light displays. I love that our neighbor a few miles up the road decorates his house in a way that makes Clark Griswold envious. I love pausing in stillness before a Nativity display. I am awed by the silent peacefulness of a snowy evening.
When I was younger, I could not wait to celebrate Christmas. In our family Christmas was celebrated on Christmas Eve. I think it was because my mom could not wait for Christmas or my parents wanted to sleep in on Christmas! I remember how she always seem to pick out the less than perfect Charlie Brown-like tree and how we would whine about it. She always managed to pick the crooked little tree that was kind of bare on one side. She put the bare side facing the corner of the room and wrapped it in lights, icicles ornaments and lots of love and it became “our” Christmas tree.
She would put some gifts under the tree. I was a “package shaker”. Yep, I was THAT child who just had to know what was in theme. What I was getting? Was it something on my list? Was it cool? I shook and sometimes poked. Eventually this materialism lessened and my deep spiritual awareness of the true meaning of Christmas grew.
I still struggle waiting patiently for Christmas – and for other things. I cannot wait until Christmas arrives anticipating the expression of joy on the faces of loved ones. I’m usually so busy during the four weeks before Christmas, the idea of waiting patiently isn’t part of my motus operandi. When I do slow down and allow myself to pause and be in the moment, I feel an incredible joy and peace.
Advent, according to the dictionary, is the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. In most Christian churches the services within the four weeks before Christmas are filled with anticipation of celebrating the birth of Jesus. The invitation is to prepare our hearts and spirits to receive Grace, Light, and Love. The readings from scripture in the weeks before Christmas focus on active and waiting. Prepare the way. The Light is coming!
The waiting of Advent is pregnant with possibilities which dwell in the womb of Hope, Peace, Joy and Light. This kind of waiting requires listening, deep listening with the ear of the heart. Barriers to this kind of listening are the “woulda, coulda, shouldas” and the “oughts and ifs”. They take us out of the here and now into an unchangeable past and into an uncertain and unpredictable future. Real life takes place in the here and now. Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love are here. Now.
Spirit is always around us, within us, and present. We need only to wait and listen with the ear of our heart.
You are invited to wait and listen in a virtual (online) community and create SoulCollage® cards in a series of workshops I’m offering on December 2, 9, 16 and 23, 2023, 1:30P – 3:30P EST. Please visit my website to register or message me with questions.
In the meantime, here are some reflection questions: How do you handle waiting? What, if anything, does your spiritual tradition teach you about waiting? What spiritual practice enables you to listen deeply to Spirit, to hear the voice of Grace, Light and Love within you? What images come to mind when you think of Waiting and Listening?
Blessings ~ Christy
(This blog is not intended to serve as individual spiritual direction however, if you would like to explore one-on-one spiritual companioning, grief work, SoulCollage©, labyrinth, Reiki, or mindfulness meditation please contact me. If you, your faith community, book club, or other gathering of spirits would like to know more about spiritual companioning, hold a workshop, learn about SoulCollage® or labyrinth, please contact me to schedule a workshop. May these musings, photos, social media postings serve as a pause in your day, food for thought, or just a reminder to breathe in and breathe out all that is holy and good. The Divine Milieu is all around us. Thank you all for prayers, vibes, positive energy and support.)