Slowing Down

The Holiday Season is fast approaching. Next week is our Thanksgiving Eve service at 7:00 pm followed by our pie social (an e-tidings will go out tomorrow giving a little more information). The HARC Thanksgiving Service takes place this coming Sunday, 11/20, at 4:30, and we have a Taize service scheduled for 6:00 pm that same evening.

Advent begins on November 27, a week and a half from today. Christmas falls four Sundays later (an early note: There will be one worship service on Christmas Day at 9:30 am).

In between now and then there will be a St. Nicholas Fair, Christmas caroling, a service of Advent Lessons & Carols, another Taize service, and Christmas Eve services at 4:00 and 10:30/11:00 pm. To top it all off, we will have an Epiphany party potluck and gift exchange on Friday, January 6, at 6:00 pm.

There is a lot going on in those few short paragraphs and I feel like I need a nap. While some of us may think that naps are a luxury we can't afford during this time of year, I would counter that naps may be exactly what we need at this time of year.

Advent is the season of the already and not yet (we recognize that God has come in the person of Jesus, but we also recognize that Christ has not yet come again). Advent is the season of preparation, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus as well as preparing ourselves for that second coming.

We all know that the season before Christmas, or the Holiday Season in general, can be a hectic and stressful time. In the midst of all that, Advent reminds us to both prepare AND to slow down. But how can we slow down when there is so much to do? Here are a few ideas:

Take a walk; sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee/tea/hot chocolate while not doing anything; beginning December 1, read a chapter of Luke a day (you'll finish on Christmas Eve); make one night a week “no technology night”; gaze at nature for five minutes; set an alarm on your phone for a time that's normally busy and then stop and pray for two minutes; light an Advent candle and pray the Sunday Collect each night; when you find yourself being busy and moving quickly, stop and recite the Trisagion (Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, have mercy upon us); drive the actual posted speed limit.

Things will get done. Christmas will come. Baby Jesus will arrive. The question we need to ask ourselves as we begin to navigate the holiday waters is this: Do we really want to exhaust ourselves trying to make for the “perfect” holiday?

The Holiday Season is almost upon us. Don't forget to care for yourself.



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