Christmas is around the corner, and we are entering the season of Advent – this wonderful time in our liturgical calendar set aside to encourage us to reflect and prepare for the coming of our Lord. It is also the season for Black Friday sales; extended shopping hours; photos with Santa; noise and the weight of expectation to buy, buy, buy in our consumer driven world.
No wonder it may feel like our Lord is fading into the distance. But this yearning to be close to God and energised by the Spirit can be attained by making a conscious decision to choose spiritual revival. Like any exercise, it takes practice, but the rewards are life changing. Take time to sink into the Discernment Exercise of spiritual revival and then each day (like filling your car with petrol) make space to reconnect with that feeling of loving consolation. God is everywhere and visible, if we just learn to notice.
Take the dog for a walk or the kids to the park and feel revived by our cities’ green spaces; listen to your favourite music (that feeling of sinking into the sound and the goose bumps it generates are a sure sign of God’s loving touch reviving the soul); smile at the pure joy of a child playing, or the quiet contentment of an elderly couple walking hand in hand, where no words are necessary. You get the picture – each of us feels the hand of God in our own unique way. Make this Advent a time to focus on what revives us.
The fruits of spiritual revival are increased hope, love, joy and peace in God. And, like a cup overflowing, we receive more than enough to reach out and share with others who may also need to be consoled, re-energised, revived. May this Advent be a time where God is back at the centre of our lives and is re-prioritising our expectations. And that you experience his loving patience and humour as you battle the crowds while doing your Christmas shopping.
With thanks to Gillian Stephens for this contribution to the JISA Discernment Series. Gillian is a giver of the Spiritual Exercises at JISA Faber Queensland and the Being with God in Nature team. Gillian lives in rural QLD where she and her husband run a beef cattle operation and also an Accounting and Tax practice.