Sometimes the strength within you is not a big fiery flame for all to see,
it is just a tiny spark that whispers ever so softly:
“You got this. Keep going.”
Talking with a colleague early this week, I observed that one of the things I feel this pandemic has ‘taken away’ is the ebb and flow of the liturgical year. I have been used to intense seasons, like Lent and Easter, Advent and Christmas, and somewhat quieter seasons like Ordinary Time (which is anything but ordinary). However, since early last year it seems like it has been ‘on the go’ all the time, with the pace gradually ramping up. And sometimes not so gradually! The battle to keep being creative, to keep being present, to keep on ‘doing’ is taking its toll.
Pretty much everyone I speak with tells me they are tired. Fatigue. Weariness caused by long exposure to the mental and spiritual demands of what is happening around us, and over which we have no control. There has been no break from this. The exhaustion is real, and justified. And probably fairly universal.
This week we embark into a new year (liturgically speaking). The celebration of Christ the King last Sunday concludes the year for us in the Church, and Advent 1 begins the new year. It seems an appropriate time to ‘hit the pause button.’ To take even a short moment to stop and take stock: reflecting on the year that has passed, and looking forward to where we are heading. In this moment, I offer you the following prayer for Advent.
I pray you will have hope: hope that opens your eyes to the miracle of new life in all its fragility and dependence. Hope that declares again, God is with us in this world and in this time.
I pray you will have peace: peace that encourages you to be a peace-maker in this world who stands up against anything that is not from God. Peace that creates sacred places for yourself and others to encounter God and find purpose in God’s love.
I pray you will have joy: joy that is deep-rooted in the core of your being. Joy that alerts you to the life and energy of God’s new creation, this “new thing” God is doing.
I pray you will have love: love that surrounds you and supports you and encourages you and nurtures you. Love that both gives you rest and urges you onward. Love that pulses through your body and overflows into the world around you.
This Advent, I pray that you will not feel a need to strive to be innovative and creative in ways that require much energy. Rather I pray that you will make time to look around for the signs of where God is being born, again, in this world. I pray that those signs of God’s birth will gently and persistently ease any fatigue you are experiencing, leading you to the life-giving hope, peace, joy and love of this new season.
Blessings and Peace,