Thursday, November 29, 2012


O LORD, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, hope in the LORD
from this time forth and forevermore.
Psalm 131

We begin a new season, the season of Advent with its emphasis on waiting and preparation. As a kid, I was never very good at waiting, especially for Christmas. For me, with my birthday on Christmas Eve, the big events of my life happened within twenty four hours. A whole year would have to go by before there would be anymore presents and celebration for me. I remember watching the clock on school, trying to will it to speed up so we could all be released for our Christmas vacation. I would try to breathe and stay calm but it was difficult. I felt almost feverish with hope and anticipation.

This psalm has always reminded me of the importance of accepting the times of waiting. Very few of us are willing to admit that we enjoy waiting, and even less of us like being told to wait. This is the time of year of long lines and short tempers. And yet God invites us to listen to our heart beat, the breathe and find calm, for waiting is a holy place, a place of gestation and preparation. The spiritual practice of calming and quieting our souls is no easy task this time of year, with all we have to do, and yet it is our greatest gift. To wait like Mary and Joseph, as the world around us collides and screams, for the greatest gift of all, Emmanuel, God with us.

At this busy time of year, I ask God to help me quiet and calm my soul moment by moment. May my actions not reflect the values and pressures of our world but rather, reflect a hopefulness and trust in God. May our words be gentle and comforting, our activities tender and kind and all that we do making space for the love of God anew. May we let go of anger and shame, of bitterness and squabbling, quieting our furor and anxiety as we make room for love.

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