Elizabeth Canham, in a 1993 article in Weavings, tells of a time in her life filled with “feverish activity” during which a colleague, a complete stranger, asked her if she had some spare time. She writes,
Expecting to be asked for something I waited, tense, ready to respond. Instead the silence grew and I began to sense a loving, prayerful presence as this priest wordlessly invited me into a resting place…. Tears began to flow. In this period of intense activity I had forgotten to stop, to wait, and to be open to the renewing power of restful presence…. (Weavings, Vol VIII, No 2, p.27.)
How about you? Have you got time to stop, wait, even rest? Will you?
This week is Thanksgiving, that time each year when we all slow down, rest, relax, feel thankful. (LOL) Sunday, December 2, is the Christian New Year’s Day, the starting point for four weeks of preparation (Advent) for the celebration of Christ’s birth and the Twelve Days of Christmas which conclude on Epiphany, January 6. Our culture often misses this: Christians do—or should—think about time differently. I’m reminded of something a teacher said when I was in 6th grade: if you don’t learn to tell time, time will tell you. We can choose to live in time guided by a spiritual rule of life; or we can let the culture, the Mad Men, the world shape our lives for us.
I invite you, in the words of the old hymn, to take time to be holy. Starting now, before you get too caught up in Black Friday and the feverish activity hurtling toward Christmas Eve, make an intentional plan for yourself to honor Advent and Christmas in a way that honors God and honors your life. Write it on your To Do list every day “Take Time.” Take time to rest into God in personal prayer, resting into the divinity of just what is. Take time for church and the community of prayer this December. Slow down, stop, wait, and open your heart and mind and soul to the renewing power and the restful presence of God.
Truly, madly, deeply, may the peace of God be with you.
david gilliam, priest of rest, faith united methodist church, austin. for more about faith church, click here.