I think most of us have heard the term “hit the reset button.” “Psychiatry Today” defines it loosely as “to start over, to relaunch yourself.” So, little did I know that for the many years while I have been practicing Advent devotions I have been “relaunching” myself! Who knew?
Bear with me. There is a lot of merit to the idea that Advent is a good time to restart those aspects of our faith life that need it. Preparing for the birth of something new should demand nothing less. All the more so if that preparation is for the one who “was made man so that man could be made God” (St. Irenaeus) - Jesus.
Taking a good look at the manner in which my life is open to the divine is an important task in Advent. My prayers, my readings, my time devoted to being present to God, are just some of the dimensions which could be “relaunched” during Advent. As with other years here at St. Barnabas we also have our daily devotions which ties our prayer lives together as a parish and hopefully opens our hearts to our common life.
I am not sure how you feel about the word piety but for some it unfortunately kindles a suspicion that is associated with inadequacy. This is entirely subjective but nonetheless it’s a word that very much draws such looks when I mention it. Yet Advent is a good time to re-examine one’s piety, how we live out our faith; what impact it has on our day to day habits, if at all. Sadly though, “relaunching one’s self” (I am really getting the hang of it now) has, in the past, been tied to guilt.
If there is one thing Jesus did not do was require guilt on the part of the person whose life he was about to “relaunch” in any of the encounters I can recall in the gospels! So, let’s stay away from that this Advent and look instead at the hopeful opportunities to embrace our calling. After all we are called to be God’s agents of change in this world and what better place to start than with ourselves.
So, take to heart the opportunity to relaunch this Advent: a new prayer, a new time to read about your favourite Saint (I have taken up a new book about St. Francis of Assisi – it’s great!), spend time with the Devotions, practice random acts of kindness (home is a great place to start), share of the gift of who you are with others, and especially create a place for God within to be a part of all this.
I am looking forward to seeing where this relaunch will take me. My hope is that I will be just a few steps closer to the child who will be born to us all this Christmas.