Showing Up for the Lord

It seems like we barely finish eating our leftover turkey and pumpkin pie when the Christmas season comes crashing in. That’s what it often feels like. A runaway train with a time clock ticking down to Christmas. We’re aware of all that we need to accomplish in those four weeks, and we just hope and pray we can get it all done. 

While fully acknowledging the realities of this busy time of year, I also want to encourage you to not forget about Advent. Delight in the season in its own right, not just as a rushed precursor to Christmas. Don’t let the Advent season pass in a blur. Be intentional about how you spend your time. Your time of joyful anticipation will be so much richer.

Advent marks the season in which the Lord shows up in our lives, on earth, and for the world. Let this be a time for reflecting on the ways in which we show up for the Lord.  This can be done in three ways—as Jesus teaches us in the Great Commandment: Love God, and love your neighbor as you love yourself. 

Showing up for the Lord 

How will we spend time with the Lord this Advent season? In everyday ways, by praying, listening to our favorite Christmas hymns, feeling God’s presence and inviting Jesus along with us wherever we go. You might feel called to step away from the “to do” list and spend even more time with the Lord by attending a spiritual retreat or an Advent scripture program. 

Showing up for Ourselves 

During this busy, hectic season, what are we doing to take care of ourselves? Moments of silence and calm, however brief they may be, can go a long way to restore us during a time of year that can drain our energy, leaving us feeling stressed and anxious. Take time to simply sit in silence. For many people, the holiday season is a struggle because of loss and grief or depression. If you are one of those people, be gentle with yourself. Don’t try to live up to any expectation of what this season “should” be. Simply rest in the Lord.

Showing up for Others 

The Advent season provides many opportunities to show up for others. Every church, local non-profit, and many businesses have donation programs, toy drives, or collections for those less fortunate. Donate some of your abundance (food, clothing, etc.) to those in need. If you don’t have those things to give, then offer your prayers or your time. Remember that we are called to be Christ for others during Advent and always.  We are the voice and hands of Jesus here on earth. In the beautiful words of St. Theresa of Avila:

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which He looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which He blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are His body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

— St. Teresa of Ávila