December 1st Advent Devotion
Scripture: Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. — Matthew 24:42-44
Holiday parties, shopping, caroling, dinners, baking, and decorating…oh so much to do. In all that busyness it is easy for me to forget the point of advent—to prepare my heart, mind, and soul for the coming of Christ. And unlike the holiday we celebrate each December 25 we do not know when Christ will return.
My friend Rev. Dr. Karen Nelson recently introduced me to the book, Invitation to Retreat by Ruth Haley Barton. In this book, Barton talks about our need to retreat. In military circles, Barton says there are four primary reasons for a strategic withdrawal. 1) losing too much ground, 2) the people are tired and ineffective 3) taking on too many casualties or 4) the current strategy is not working. She goes on to say that the purpose of a retreat is to rest, tend to wounds, stop the momentum of the other side, step back and get a big view, and set new strategies.
Perhaps if you struggle to remember this season is about preparing for the savior maybe it is time to retreat, reorient, and revaluate. Maybe it is time to remind yourself what really matters this season and develop some new priorities for this holiday season…maybe find some time to retreat, to take a strategic withdrawal from the activity of the season to focus on the reason.
Prayer: Most Holy Triune God, guide our hearts and minds this advent season that we might find time to refocus on what really matters. Remind us advent is about preparing ourselves for the return of Christ and we do not know when that might be. Until that day inspire us, guide us, and allow us time to step away and revaluate what is important. Amen.
By: Rev. Dr. Jaye Johnson