Joan Chittister

Present for Advent

Present for Advent

Presence started at midnight last night for me. Laying awake in the dark, despite having slowly sipped my peppermint tea and read a bit before bed as is my usual sleep time ritual. Awake and aware, at midnight and again at 2am and again at 4am, finally I gave in at 5am accepting that I was not going to enter Advent asleep this year.

Today it feels as if everything inside of me is awake to my surroundings, the music at the coffee shop reminding me that I grew up in the 80's as Michael Jackson's "Thriller" filled the space with sounds very "un-Christmaslike". The voices around me including the teenage girls giggling as they instagram their selfies, leaving me to wonder why they weren't in class somewhere.

The hustle and bustle inside my head is begging some space. I can feel it.

Advent, latin for "coming" or "arrival" technically begins on Sunday December 3 when we will light the first candle. For me, it begins December 1 as my heart and thoughts begin to anticipate Christmas Day.

I am choosing to hold today, and its very early beginning just after midnight for me, as a gift...likely the first gift of Christmas.

I do not want to live into the hustle and bustle that will slowly invite me to numb and escape ultimately offering less that my fully present self to the next 25 days.

Advent begins for me with thought, purpose and intentionality.


I moved outside to escape the noise and distraction of the hustling Starbucks. I pulled out my journal and spent some time remembering and reflecting.

As day one unfolds the pattern of choosing to quiet my heart and mind, entering my day aware that it is a gift and filled with choices that either leave me living wholeheartedly or simply moving unaware and numb or distracted and tense seems a good way to start.

"What we learn in Advent is to stay in the present, knowing that only the present well lived can possibly lead us to the fullness of life."                  Joan Chillister "The Liturgical Year"