Wow, I’m shocked how many “Advent devotionals” are available this year…many more than in years past.
In addition to the many written options available in book format, I’m noticing on Facebook, via numerous e-mail lists, and for whatever reason I’m even auto-subscribed to several more coming into my inbox either daily or weekly between now and Christmas Day. Some I can see already will be excellent; others rather mediocre. Some are by individuals I admire or organizations I support or published by churches I’m connected with or ministries I know and follow. Everyone has very good intentions: helping their reader engage more meaningfully in the Advent and Christmas season. A few have pretty obvious ulterior motives: asking for a donation.
But, my fear is that these very devotionals – and their ancillary web pages, resources, events, etc. – will provide so much additional noise to an already over-cluttered, over-committed and over-saturated season of the year that they will contribute more to my/our seasonal exhaustion rather than my/our spiritual invigoration. It’s already feeling a bit like the Black Friday and Cyber Monday chatter of retail…just sayin.
My counsel, for what it’s worth…don’t try to do it all. Limit your intake. Focus on what seems most soul-satisfying and relationship-building (as in between you and God, and you and your faith community). Collect and then collate; don’t attempt the status of super Christian in one short month. Instead, and in the midst of all that’s already on your holiday calendar, purpose to focus – yes, really focus – on the true meaning of Advent and Christmas. Which, by the way, is about waiting and wondering, watching and hoping, listening and praying, anticipating and expecting, all wrapped up as one holy season. If you’re in a rush now, you might end up turning the page into the New Year and scratching your head, amazed how quickly it all slipped away amidst the noise and confusion.
You can’t enjoy the full beauty of Advent and Christmas if you think you need to do or read or attend or know it all…it simply might be too noisy for your soul. Watch out if you’re more interested in knowing more about Advent than you are experiencing the fullness of Advent. Be sure to behold the coming of the Lord in the love of the Christ Child, and then become what you receive.