I have come up with my spiritual discipline for this Advent - I am going to walk slower.
Everywhere I go, my steps will be at a slower tempo than my default pace. I'll be sauntering places, or perhaps moseying. (I may even stroll from time to time, or maybe amble.) I have already been practicing, and let me tell you it is going to require an intentional effort to slow my steps every time I walk anywhere. Apparently, I am a pretty fast walker most of the time ... I'm just sayin.
A couple of questions that are probably wandering through your mind - "Why? is one. And "how is that a spiritual discipline?" may be another.
Why? Because I think Advent needs intentional spiritual disciplines just like Lent does. The event for which we prepare during this season is so enormous, so earth-shatteringly powerful, that our preparations for it need structure, intentionality, and purpose.
And how is walking slower a spiritual discipline? Put simply, it gives me practice with waiting. When I walk slowly toward my destination, I must resist the urge to speed up so as to arrive there sooner. Knowing that I could get there quicker and then purposefully delaying my arrival requires patience and a willingness to endure.
The side effect of walking slow is that I get more time to enjoy the way. "Just kickin' down the cobblestones" is a great way of "feelin' groovy," and time is relative, as we all know. Moving faster speeds time up, and moving slowly or stopping altogether stretches time out. Walking slowly, therefore, actually creates more time for my day!
If you've read my last two posts on Advent, you know that I'm a big advocate of truly using the season as a time to prepare for Christmas, and not to rush the miracle. The decorations, the songs, the parties, the lights - all of these are preparatory for the celebration. These preparations are in and of themselves celebrations, of course. But they lead us to the BIG one - the birth of Christ.
So this Advent season, should you find yourself walking somewhere with me, I will beg your indulgence to slow down a bit and linger a bit as we perambulate along. Practice waiting - walk slow.
Preparing to Participate
2 weeks ago