December is always quiet around here, but it seems particularly quiet this year. The nine inches of snow that fell in November has melted into the earth, and we have only the fresh dusting of the past few days to remind us it is December.
Except for a brief flurry of activity on Saturday, there is not much going on this month. That is mostly a factor of how busy the rest of the world is in the month of December. Few people take the time to slow down and come away for a retreat in December. There are too many things to do to prepare for Christmas: too many presents to buy and wrap, too many treats to bake, too many parties and concerts to attend, too many decorations to put up, too many trips to plan.
Yet, this is Advent, a season that invites us to prepare for Christmas by taking time to be quiet, to spend more time in prayer, to ponder the Scripture stories, to rest in the stillness.
This is winter, the time when Mother Nature shows us the need to slow down, to conserve our strength, to rest in the stillness. Some creatures have migrated to warmer climes, and some of those who stayed are settling into hibernation for a long winter’s nap. Trees have shed their leaves and drawn their sap down into their roots. Cold weather and less daylight can draw us inside, too, to sit in front of a fire, read a good book, or spend some quality time with family.
And it is the end of the year, a time that often causes us to pause and reflect on all that we have experienced in this year, and to look forward in anticipation of a fresh start in the new year.
So in theory, this should be our busiest season here at St. Anthony’s. Instead, we are blessed in a way by the busy-ness of our culture which creates the un-busy-ness of life here in this season. We spent the Thanksgiving holidays catching our breath and recovering from a very busy fall. As we move deeper into the month of December, our staff will take advantage of the quiet and get away from work, take time for themselves to spend with their families, to rest in the stillness of the season.
For the time to slow down, reflect, rest and recover, and for the blessings of the quiet stillness of winter, we say Deo Gratias!