Welcome Advent!

By now you’re either in the Advent spirit of welcome and waiting, or you’ve skipped ahead to the Christmas spirit with its hustly-bustly feeling of overwhelm—too much to do and never enough time to do it. You do have a choice: be present to Advent’s time of waiting and preparation. Or focus entirely on the race to Christmas. I had a choice this morning whether or not to go to Zumba. Normally I love Zumba, but I was expecting a crowded room and boring routines that no longer challenge me. I really didn’t want to go. Goodbye, expectations! Welcome, new Zumba teacher! The room was still crowded, but this perky teacher led us through refreshing new routines. She actually demonstrated some of her steps before the music started. New can be challenging but in a good way because it makes my brain work harder to follow the steps. What I was expecting to be the same-old turned into something challengingly fun. On the drive home from the gym, I thought of this passage from Isaiah, “Behold, I make all things new.” Advent is a time to be and do something new. It’s not only a time to bring out your Christmas finery, but also a time to clear out some old ways of relating to God. As the first four weeks of the new liturgical year, Advent offers plenty of time to practice some new resolutions. If the familiar way you’ve been relating to God—and others—seems like a boring routine, then maybe it’s time to change things up and do something new. Some suggestions: Read a spiritual book and reflect on it. One of my favorites, Henri Nouwen, comes to mind. He is easy...