Note to Self: Beware of Advent Noise

 

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.

 

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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.