preparing for advent

My fondest memories of advent are from the year that I spent in a Benedictine Monastery. The Sisters of St. Benedict really knew how to do Advent right! The monastery was imbued with a sense of stillness and peace, of patient and watchful waiting. Nature collaborated in setting the tone for the season, blanketing the grounds and trees with sound-muffling snow. Music from the Monks of Weston Priory was a favorite at the time. A current album was titled Winters Coming Home. To this day, the image on the album cover and the title song goes through my head on those deep, still, winter days; when shades of white blend into blue.

Winter not only comes home here on the prairies. She`s often the guest that overstays her welcome. By April we`re ready to send her packing! Yet, in these early days of winter the freshness of the snow and crisp temperatures invite us into coziness. The challenge is to find the silence within.

How do we find monastic silence in our homes? How do we make room for Advent stillness in the midst of pre-Christmas craziness? For me, I need to be intentional in limiting my computer time. I need to leave my iPhone and iPad in another room so it`s not at arm`s reach throughout the day. I need to turn the TV off more often. I have to try running outside without my iTunes playlist blaring in my brain.

I just realized that this sounds more like a list of Lenten resolutions. And, we all know how bad I am at keeping those! I know that I can`t give up all these things. But, hopefully, I can put them aside a bit each day to make room for listening.