What do you hope for this Advent?
I found myself asking this question the other day. I wrote down answers like:
I hope for a heart full of wonder. I hope for a heart open to mystery and the holy. I hope for a heart that is ever softening and expanding. I hope for a heart that seeks to give birth to God today–that propels my hands and feet to Love now.
What my heart wants for Christmas is pretty much what my heart wants in October or April. It just seems harder to keep space for that kind of heart, that kind of love, in a frenzied month of over-consumption.
As we put away the remnants of our Thanksgiving Dinner, my mind went to “What do I need to buy now?” (Sigh.) I started making lists: Gift lists; To-do lists. I found my breath getting shallow. Time seems so precious and fleeting. My lists were feeling overwhelming. And I realized: This is not how I want to be for the next month.
This summer, I stumbled on a practice that revolutionized my To-Do lists. I was becoming obsessed with my list-making. But my lists prioritized things like cleaning the bathroom. Clean bathrooms are good, but accomplishing that task is not what I want to define my day.
Then, I found myself writing a list like this:
I felt grounded and open-hearted that day. I found myself getting just as much “accomplished.” But my focus was on how I wanted to be in the world. There is power in making space for and prioritizing practices that help us be.
This season, I am trying to bring that kind of focus to my Advent calendar. I looked at my list of hopes. And then I wrote down practices that can help me to cultivate wonder, a spacious heart, and Love.
I started off with a list, but that felt too overwhelming seeing it all at once. So I made a card for each idea. I’ll take one card each day to remind myself of how I want to be in this season.
I’ll still buy gifts and bake cookies. We may or may not mail out cards this year. But I’m hoping that those lists won’t be so consuming. I’m hoping that I’ll approach this season with an open heart and that I won’t miss out on the mysteries and holy moments tucked away in the corners of each day.
How do you want to be this holiday season? What helps you in your being?