Sunday, December 20, 2009

Advent Reflection 4: Two feet (of snow) closer to God

The frantic last minute rush of Christmas shopping came to a screeching halt in my area this weekend as God imposed His will, dropping a blanket of almost two feet of snow on the madness and forcing most of us into (relative) stillness.

Not a creature was stirring that I could see, save one lone squirrel who skittered frantically across the back fence in search of food, shelter, and dry ground. Every form of transportation from roads to airports to Metro was brought to its knees.

So we meditated, read the Bible at an unhurried pace, ate a real home-cooked breakfast for a change, and finally got the Christmas tree decorated and cards written. My friend Roger and I spent quality time together -- lots of it -- instead of each running our separate ways or being caught up in the pre-holiday chaos of the shopping malls and stores.

Less consumption, fewer exhaust-spewing vehicles on the road, a pause in the rat race of ordinary human existence. Mother Earth is getting a much needed rest in the northeastern United States this weekend.

And so this divinely imposed time-out has brought a few hours to reflect on life, how too often I become trapped in roles, do not have the time or discipline to seek a deeper relationship with God.

I think again about four years of photos and while it is a gift, what other gifts have gone uncultivated as I relentlessly pursue the perfect shot? My brothers and sisters in the RenovaciĆ³n love these images but I long to put the camera and its associated outsider perspective away and join the ranks of the black and white clad ministerio as an intercedora or a levantadora, to have the discipline to get my lazy self out of bed and off to the required escuela two Sundays a month.

Two feet of snow is an invitation to stop and take stock of one's life. It is the perfect natual backdrop to the Advent season of waiting and preparing if we view and use it rightly. It forces us to slow down, reach out to others, stop and look out for our most vulnerable neighbors -- the poor and the elderly. It brings us closer to God and, in the end, what more do we need?

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