Many years ago, having just completed drivers training, I remember one of the first times that I drove with my Dad in the front seat beside me. I can still remember driving the family station wagon, the warm sunny day with the windows rolled down and the air blowing my long hair. I can see the corner that I was preparing to turn and I can still hear my Dad in a calm, even voice say, “You should probably slow down before you go around the corner”. It was not an order, it was a simple statement of instruction from a great teacher.
As we enter and travel through Advent, I would like to focus on those two words spoken to me more than 45 years ago. Slow down. That was great advice for this new driver years ago. It is also great advice for each of us as individuals and as a church. It is so easy to forget to slow down, to pause, to stop, to be still. Yet, God created us to have those very rhythms as a regular part of our lives.
Consider with me, Psalm 46:10-11. “'Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.' The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” The Psalmist knew that people need to be still. Not just to be still to be motionless, but to know that God is there, to experience His presence. The Psalmist is giving us a focus point. We are to know that God is God. He will be exalted among the nations. He will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us. The Advent season is all about God with us. God is with us! His unbelievable sacrifice and entry into life on earth is well, unbelievable. He is also coming again and He will be exalted not only among the nations, but He will be exalted in all the earth. Even though Christ Jesus was not recognized by most people when he arrived as a babe that was laid in the manger. He is the Christ, the long awaited one, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9) He is with us. He is!
Slow down. Pause. Stop. Be still. With our packed schedules and great events I know that there isn't time to be still or to slow down. To be perfectly honest, I don't think that I slowed down quite as much as I should have driving around that corner many years ago. Thankfully, there wasn't a car waiting at the stop sign. You know what? I learned an important lesson. Slow down before you get into the middle of a turn. It is much easier to correct before than during. This is a calm, even voice asking you, what can you do to cut some of the chaos of the season? Does everything have to be done? Do all of the gifts need to cost money? What can be eliminated? What can be given a new focus that centers on the Christ with us? What can you do to be ready for His coming, not just this Advent but for His return?
Here's to a focused, still Advent season for each of us