Last Sunday I gave out “Sand Timers” to help remind people to spend an “Advent Minute” each day. I described an Advent Minute as taking at least one minute each day to be quiet before the Lord, thinking and contemplating on God’s character and His love for us as we wait on the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The timers are actually approximately three minutes long but I told people if they could not do three minutes then to do at least one minute with the goal of working towards three by the end of the Advent season.
I have received a lot of interesting responses about this little spiritual discipline of quietness and stillness. Not only do people find that one minute seems to be a lot longer than they thought, so many people are finding it difficult to find even one minute in their day to reflect in silence! There are so many distractions, so much work, so many responsibilities, so much hurry that never mind being quiet for a minute people can’t stop at all. This is not only scary but I believe is dangerous and harmful to our souls. If we continue to run, serve, work, care for and do without taking time to refill and refuel we will find ourselves running on empty and eventually burning out. No wonder Jesus often withdrew to the quiet places, He frequently spent time alone, away from the crowds and even from His disciples. His strength to do ministry and to serve others flowed from His being at one with the Father. And this oneness was cultivated through prayer, meditation and reflection.
I believe Jesus was born when He was because God knew it was the right time, the perfect time in history for Him to be born. At the same token I believe if Jesus was born during this generation and grew up with the challenges we face He would have found a greater need to detach from this world of distractions, technology, busyness and accomplishment. He would have been purposeful and intentional in quieting Himself in His father’s presence and taking time to listen to His Father’s voice so that He could better hear, see and serve.
Advent is a time for waiting and expectation. It is a time of preparation. As part of your preparation we invite you to participate in the Advent Minute with us. Before you can be still and quiet for three minutes or more you have to be able to be quiet for two minutes. And before you are quiet for two minutes you have to stop and be quiet for one minute. And before you stop and are quiet for one minute you need to be able to stop. So, take out your sand timers, or set your phones or set your watch or egg timers and sit down somewhere that there are minimal distractions. Close your eyes…and enjoy one minute of silence. I have a feeling you will think it is not long enough.
What do you think?
How does this make you feel?