As I knelt in Adoration on Sunday, December 9th, I suddenly caught myself planning my route back to the social hall, thinking of the things that needed to be done before the middle schoolers started grabbing their snack after prayer. I was literally sitting with Jesus, gazing at the Blessed Sacrament, but there I was, my mind all cluttered up with the list of things I was just itching to accomplish. I was all but physically in the kitchen.
You can imagine what my December has been like then, and I’m sure I can get an “Amen!” from most of you reading this. Advent is a time for prayerful preparation for the celebration of the Incarnation of God Himself, and my days have been full of lists: grocery lists, shopping lists, to-do lists, cleaning lists (…here I go again!). That’s why I had been looking forward to Adoration. I was finally going to have some quiet time with God…but subconsciously, I had simply added this special time of prayer to a new list! Advent spiritual preparation? Check!
After several attempts to pray during Adoration ended with my mind wandering over to my office to work and my home to clean…I gave up. I wanted so badly to pray, to reflect, to have some noticeable spiritual gain for the time I was spending in the church, but I was too distracted to concentrate. So instead, I just sat, content to be in the presence of Jesus.
After Adoration I decided that, this Advent, instead of making a new spiritual to-do list or ripping up my lists all together (because let’s be real, I’m going to do it all anyway), I just want to be. I want to be in the present moment, because that’s where God and I can be together. Just like every December, I’m too busy, I sleep too little, and I do too much, but if I do it all with Jesus, it can all become part of my Advent preparation. When I’m aware of God’s presence, little, seemingly-insignificant moments become God-sightings. Like when a middle schooler stopped me as I was darting out of church (in my hurry to get to the grocery store) just to say “hi.” Or when a co-worker unknowingly supplied the very thing that I forgot to pick up at the store and saved me from some extra stress and a last-minute errand.
God is always here, lovingly trying to get our attention as we check off never-ending lists. While we all may be incredibly busy this season, let’s live purposefully in the moment, so that instead of being distracted by the busyness, we recognize Him in it. God is here. God is with us. Emmanuel.
Written by Christine Sellnow, Coordinator of Middle School Youth Ministry