A blog theme was running through my head during Advent – all about being a time of expectant waiting, of quiet hope, of preparing for Christ, of seeing the good/ seeing God in all situations.
Of course, it stayed in my head rather than being written down and got lost amongst the usual December busyness as well – preparing for family visiting from interstate, cleaning the house, finalising work projects for 2012.
Now we are into January. Well into January. In a way, much more than Advent in December I find that January is my waiting time. A quiet time. More time for prayer. A time of hope.
For my youth ministry colleagues, January has usually been either a down time when offices are tidied and storerooms are sorted through to make space for the New Year or a time of frantic activity as a major event or retreat is hosted. Fresh calendars are put up with new and exciting ideas and events populating them.
This January is a quiet one for me. The usual routines of playgroup and library time don’t start until school does. My son is back at crèche two days a week and I’m contacting people about my availability. The calendar is slowly being populated with tentative work – waiting to be confirmed when boards next meet, or schools and universities ease into the New Year. The home office is quiet – but it calls to be properly cleaned, sorted, projects retired and folders archived.
I’ve been working on getting things like business cards and nametags done. It’s a “hurry up and wait” scenario. It seems there is a snag in every step – printers not getting things right, me trying to design stuff myself, then realising that there are some things that should be left to the experts (in this case Matt Price) It is a cause of frustration and I wonder what’ God’s plan in all this is – to teach me to not try to do everything myself or to spend too long trying to get the best price, and just going with people and businesses I trust? Using that time wisely in prayer instead?
I’m also looking for part time work to balance and complement Ministry Support Services, and there is the waiting time and praying time that accompanies this exercise. Waiting for jobs to be advertised, getting the application prepared by deadline and then waiting for a response. Of course it is all in God’s hands and I know that either way God will provide (sometimes providing a “learning experience” instead of a job!)
I get so much more done when there is a lot to do, and a deadline to do it by. In the busy times I long for a lull, but living in it is a bit like the boat on the becalmed sea. I know that it is a time to cherish and not wish away.
My call for this time is to take the time that I was snatching in between busy life in December to do more than “snatch” the Advent awareness moments. Now I intend to be slow, with deliberate awareness, to live and pray, waiting in joyful hope through the next month. I may not be waiting for the birth of Christ at Christmas, but I am waiting and praying to see what God has in store for 2013.
Happy “January Advent” – may the start to 2103 be a time of joyful hope, of prayerful preparation and of looking for God in the moments of everyday life.