Monday, November 24, 2008

Sleeping with Bread

The examen, based on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius, helps a person hold onto what spiritually nourishes him by looking at what is giving him consolation in his life or causing him desolation. It allows someone to express his gratitude to God for the good stuff and turn to him for solace for the bad stuff. It is quite simple. You simply ask yourself, in the last day/week/month what gave me consolation and what caused me desolation.

Christmas is coming. I'm sure you've heard - it's been coming since before Halloween for a lot of retailers, and I have to admit I'm excited. It's my favorite time of the year, despite the bustle and busy-ness. I'm just about ready - I have all my shopping done, my cards are ready to be mailed, the decorations are ready to be hung. I do this early, because it is important to me to be able to spend the season of Advent without a lot of the distractions that can creep in. One of my favorite parts of Advent is the devotional I read, called Watch for the Light. It's a collection of writings by authors from Thomas Aquinas to Sylvia Plath, which allow me to spend time preparing to once again welcome the Christ into my life. Here is a brief excerpt from the introduction:

"We miss the essence of Christmas unless we become, in the words of Eberhard Arnold, 'mindful of how Christ's birth took place.' Once we do, we will sense immediately that Advent marks something momentous: God's coming into our midst...If the essence of Advent is expectancy, it is also readiness for action: watchfulness for every opening, and willingness to risk everything for freedom and a new beginning. "

So this week, I am going to spend some time being thankful - for my family, friends, husband, life. And then, I plan to turn with joy to Advent, a time of watching and waiting with expectancy, to prepare to welcome with open arms the gift of my Saviour.


drgngirl said...

It is nice to see someone that gets the commercial stuff out of the way to be able to truly concentrate on the spiritual. Enjoy your Advent season...Blessed Be

Mel said...

"willingness to risk everything for freedom and a new beginning...."

What a wondrous celebration of living.

Thank you for sharing this reading.

Lamont said...

Elizableth -
I'm amazed at your christmas cards and shopping being complete! Wow - we're unplugging from the shopping madness on this coming Friday by having a make something day. Crafts away!
PS. Thanks for the book link - I was looking for a contemplative tool for advent and thanks to you I think I've found it!

Mary-LUE said...

I have that book! I have a small collection of books for Advent. The last couple of years I have not been able to really stop and focus on Advent. It really hurts my appreciation of the season.

My other favorite book for Advent is Miracle on 10th St. by Madeleine L'Engle.

I hope you are able to focus on the Advent Season and Christmas the way you want to.