Thoughts from Pastor Linda
The Gift of Presence –
Life is full of distractions, especially in this busy season of giving.
When we take the time to set intentions and be truly present, we gain clarity and direction to keep us focused on the people and passions that matter most to us.
Being present allows us to make healthier choices for our financial, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. In this state of mind, we can notice, listen, and attend to life within and outside ourselves with integrity.
“The night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:12, NRSV)
Christmas ushers in family and faith traditions that can easily steal away our time and peace. I used to try to keep alive all of my family’s traditions, even though I was working full time, raising a family, and serving as a church minister. I see more clearly now the impact of the extra stress on my already too busy life. The meltdowns and moodiness that accompanied the added burden did not contribute to the season of light.
Once I was able to recognize this in myself, I decided to be intentional with my time. This allowed me to make time to prepare, to rest and renew so I could be more present. I gave myself permission to let go of expectations, keeping only those that aligned with my values and fit my family. With this work, Advent became a time to prepare my heart, mind, and spirit to receive Christ.
As I have grown older and my children have gone off on their own, my practice of stepping away from that which no longer serves me continues. I have discovered Advent provides me time to declutter. Through this annual housecleaning process I intentionally examine my heart and reorder my priorities. While an ever-ongoing process, this thoughtful discernment has helped me gain clarity of what I need to do to be more present and prioritize my time, energy, and focus. When I live with intention I can shine a bit brighter in the darkness. As you live with intention, consider:
Name the clutter that keeps your light from shining brightly.
What will you let go of in order to be more present this Advent season?
I invite you to walk with me through these weeks as we anticipate the coming of Christ Jesus. When we live with intension, it is my hope that you will prayerfully pause, reflect, and make an intention to be present. May you walk in light, open your heart, and patiently wait for Christ’s coming. I pray that you experience peace within and radiate that peace around and through you.
God came down that we may have light.
This month’s Advent newsletter greeting is partially provided by Deacon Amy Devine and Portico the ELCA Benefit Services.