Advent Challenge

Advent ChallengeAdvent begins one of the most difficult times of the year for me.  I yearn to spend these weeks leading to Christmas preparing my heart for the coming of Baby Jesus and return of Christ.  I want to carve out the time to pray all of the beautiful prayers, read scripture  about the promise of the coming of Christ, and peacefully reflect on the promises the Messiah brings to each of us.
In actuality, the hustle and bustle paired with commitments at this busy time of year threaten to overtake my efforts at every  turn. Despite the many amazing Advent resources – books, apps, and activities – that promise to help me focus on what’s important this Advent, it’s still overwhelming.  I need simplicity to make Advent fit into my busy day.
At Mass on this first Sunday of Advent, the Archbishop of New Orleans gave us an advent challenge by instructing us to make time every day of Advent to listen to what Jesus says to us, that we need to spend a little quiet time recognizing God moving in our lives.  At the end of each day we then pray and ask God how many times we didn’t hear Him attempting to speak to us through the noise surrounding us.  
Archbishop Aymond reminded us to put down our smartphone when we are just sitting, or to not talk on the phone while in the car, and just be quiet. Even though I was only visiting New Orleans for the weekend, I felt that the Archbishop knows me too well.  I am guilty of being preoccupied with my iPhone and noise.  It is rare to find me sitting anywhere quiet and still.  
His Advent challenge was simple, yet powerful, and it truly spoke to my heart.   I absolutely need to pause and spend a little quiet time listening to God this Advent.  This might be a first step to fulfilling my promise to slow down life to savor this blessing of Christmas to come.
What do you struggle with at Advent?  Do you have a plan to focus on the meaning of Advent this year?
Will you take the Advent Challenge?


Lisa Henley Jones