Advent: The Church New Year

rencherIn preparation for the 12-day season of Christmas, the season of Advent invites the preparation of our hearts for the coming of “Emmanuel” and, believe it or not, to slow down. The demands, festivities, and varied meanings among us in this holiday season seem to encourage us to hurry up and tell us that there is not enough time. Instead, be still just enough, say five minutes, lest we miss the “long-expected Jesus” when he comes.

In 2003, I was introduced to the following poem. It hangs on the wall at one of my former parishes in the area where most worshipers entered the sacred space, and others and I gathered before the procession into the church. Beginning November 30, the first Sunday of Advent, I plan to start each day with this poem as my prayer and now share it with you as one of several resources for the season.

 

Slow me down, Lord
Ease the pounding of my heart
by the quieting of my mind.

Steady my hurried pace
with a vision of the eternal march of time.
Give me amid the confusion of the day,
the calmness of the eternal hills.

Break the tension of my nerves and muscles
with the soothing music of the singing streams
that live in my memory.

Help me to know the magical restoring power of sleep.

Teach me the art of taking MINUTE vacations,
of slowing down to look at a flower,
to chat with a friend,
to pat a dog,
to read a few lines of a good book.

Slow me down, Lord
and inspire me to send my roots
deep into the soil of life’s enduring values
that I may grow toward the stars of my greater destiny.

–Wilfred A. Peterson

God’s peace and wishing you a blessed Advent.

– The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher, Rector