As the holiday season approaches, the frenzy spins faster and faster as it swings us toward the year’s end. But in ancient times, this season was intended to evoke a quiet thoughtfulness in us rather than a frenzy. It was to be a time of slowing down, of resting, of renewing our strength. After the harvest, when the world becomes cold and seemingly barren, there is life that is resting and waiting to germinate.
In the upcoming days and weeks, I invite you to be intentional about finding some time for quiet thoughtfulness. In fact, I even have a suggestion for how to do so. Take a few minutes out of your day and take a Daily Advent Retreat. Use this online devotional tool to help you carve out time for reflection, in the midst of all the holiday hustle and bustle.
I love my cellphone.
And I love that it allows me to connect with people by voice, text, picture, email or social media at any time that I deem it necessary, pertinent or pleasurable.
However, there are few things that I wish everyone knew. Well, I guess I should say that there are a few things that I wish everyone who had my cellphone number knew.
First: sometimes, I don’t answer.
If I am on the other line, or having a face-to-face conversation, or in an area with sketchy cellphone service, or in the grocery checkout line, or spending quality time with my nephew, or in a meeting, or spending time in prayer … then I do not answer my cellphone.
I do not mean for this to frustrate you or offend you. I do not look at the caller ID and decide that I don’t want to talk to you. I just feel that there are certain times in life when it is rude to be distracted by a device that draws your attention away from the people you are with at the time.
Second: sometimes when I can’t answer the phone, I CAN manage to sneak a quick glance at a text message.
I do not believe that text messages should replace personal interaction, but a text message can tell me whether your call is urgent (which means I need to leave the meeting or the checkout line and call you back right away) or whether you just need a quick piece of information (which I could send to you, without leaving the meeting or the checkout line to call you back) or whether there is an impending natural disaster of which I need to be immediately aware.
Finally: in any given day, week or month, I am connected and available – often through my various technological devices (phone, computer, etc) for a good percentage of the time. But in a world filled with twenty-four-hour stores and around-the-clock news networks and an internet that never sleeps, I feel very strongly that each of us should be intentional about finding time – every single day – to unplug, to slow our pace, to attend to the needs of our souls.
Of course, it will mean that we’ll sometimes be unavailable when people call or text or email. But if we’re always running … how will we ever recharge our batteries?