This last weekend Nick and I went on a silent retreat. No talking (well, whispering in our room like rebels) and so much sleep.
A silent retreat is basically the opposite of our normal life with the boys. I didn't fully realize that until this morning.
It was the perfect entrance into the season of advent: a time to ready our hearts in a quiet, beautiful setting,
with time to pray and reflect and learn.
I really, really love the season of advent: a time of hope and anticipation as we await the arrival of Christ's birth.
Beyond the crazy Christmas sales and all the activities in front of us that seem to grow exponentially in December, I want to find time for quiet. To treasure up the beautiful mystery of Christmas in my heart, to create a home that provides that for my family.
Peace and joy and hope.
That's what advent is all about, really: hope.
Hope is the sure and steadfast anchor of our souls:
"it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beauty."
As life goes on, it seems easier to get discouraged, worn down... weary.
If there is ever a time to slow down, remove distractions, quiet ourselves, it's now.
Now is the time to let Him in. Even if we've never done it before, never reflected on the meaning of Christmas, never stopped with all the busyness and just been still, now is the time.
Find a quiet place, read the story of the first Christmas night, and let it penetrate.
It just might change you.
It changes me every time I let it.