This Advent I have been challenged in ways that I didn’t see coming or at least haven’t been bothered by much in the past. I’ve taken to the practice of centering prayer and to contemplation informed by my natural surroundings. It’s a been a beautiful blessing and one that I hope to keep growing in.
With that said, what’s really stood out to me as I form this habit is how out of sync my habits are with the rhyme and reason of God’s creation, particularly at this time of year. In December the days get shorter and shorter and the last of the leaves finally fall, the grass loses it’s green color and many of the creatures disappear. But we human beings of the 21st Century seem to be adverse to these things because of our technological advancements.
We can escape the darkness by turning on our florescent lights. We can escape the cold by hanging out in our continually heated buildings. Through technology we’ve created a world within a world. While there is plenty of good to be gleaned from technology it’s also left us strangely disjointed from creation. While animals are beginning to hibernate we are amping things up via the cacophony of our consumerist economy. On one of the shortest and darkest days of the year we will ignore its cues and work frantically via technological conveniences to get those final gifts and to get to that special destination. The thought of going to the mall on Christmas Eve fills my heart with deep trepidation, but I’ve done it and will probably do it again. I am a technological creature of habit who ignores creation’s message to slow down and rest.
In listening and paying attention to the ebb and flow of creation I find myself convicted of this techno-consumerist way of life that has come to dominate. While everything amps up I find the voice of God whispering to me to slow down, to breath in the cold air and to be more mindful of my consumption. The voice of John the Baptist breaks through all of this and speaks through the bear trees, the bitter cold and the bags of garbage I put out to be taken away, “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance and do not say to yourself, “Father Abraham had many sons and I am one of them.”‘
This Advent I find the words of the father of the epileptic child to be at forefront of my mind, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.” As I picture the babe in a manger I picture myself leaning over to see him, to see this One who can guide me into the way of peace. My continual prayer is that he would continue to do so and that I would find myself more in sync with Him and the world that was created through him, rather than the world we human beings have created through our own efforts.