December 2, 2020

Be Watchful and Vigilant

You are at the eye doctor and it’s time for the peripheral
vision test. You know the one. It’s where you put your head
up to a contraption and have to click a switch every time you
see a squiggly line. If you don’t concentrate and maintain
optimal focus, you will miss them and skew the outcome of
the test. You can easily find yourself with a diagnosis that
really isn’t accurate! Concentration and focus are key to succeeding with this evaluation. They are also key to developing
a healthy, vibrant spiritual life. If we do not bring our full
consciousness to the task, concentrate with all our might, be
watchful and vigilant, we are not going to see God’s loving
presence flashing before our eyes!
That’s why we need Advent. Let’s face it. We can easily get
distracted, focus on nonessential and superficial things and
lose touch with what really matters. Our attentions wander.
We daydream and even become a bit overwhelmed and
tired. All of the stresses and demands of life consume us and
we find ourselves constantly trying to play catch up rather
than relishing the moment of the now. “Now” moments are
so fleeting. They flash before us like those squiggly lines on a
screen. Present moments go as quickly as they come but it is
important to discover them and rest in them as often as we
can. Though gone in a flash, these now moments of
encounter with God teach powerful lessons and offer a
grounding in truth that can be found nowhere else. It’s the
grace of Advent to become watchful and attentive because
we are never sure when God will surprise us.
God loves surprises and love thrives on them! God’s now
moments of surprises come as tender instants of intimate
connection where I find profound peace, experience joy, and
rest in love. These are Advent times reflective of the now
moments when Christ first was born, when God surprises us
during every time we care to watch and when the great
surprise of Christ’s second coming dawns upon us all. But, to
discover the grandeur and experience the awe of these now
times, we have to be ready. We have to want to be there. We
have to believe. And, we have to have the desire to soak in as
much as we can in the time we have before us.