We are less than a week away from Christmas. I know I am busy getting ready. I am sure you are too. There are sermons to prepare. There are the final things to coordinate for Christmas Eve services. There are also last minute presents to buy and packages to be mailed. There is much to get done in a little amount of time. It is so easy to become overloaded and anxious.
But one thing I have been doing this Advent season that has helped me is to spend five minutes each day in silence. It is a great change of pace that brings me calm and helps to center my thoughts upon God. This time of silence is not spent in prayer. It is not time I am using to think about the things I have to do. It is time to simply be still and receive the promise of Psalm 46:10.
For someone who is always accustomed to doing, it is hard to “be” and not to “do.” I find my mind easily begins to wander. I start to think about all the things I have to think about. Being still is not an easy thing to do. I can still my body easy enough, but it is much harder to still the mind. It takes practice to master this habit. But I have found myself getting better at it the more I do it.
One exercise that I do to help me be still is to focus on my breathing. I will breathe in and visualize the Holy Spirit. The word for spirit in the Old Testament means breath or wind. So I imagine that as the air fills my lungs, the Holy Spirit is filling my soul. Then as I breathe out, I focus on what the Spirit produces through me. When the Holy Spirit is at work in my life, he will produce love, joy, peace, patience, and more (see Galatians 5:22). So as my breath enters the air, I visualize the fruit of the Spirit shared through my life by God.
I typically practice this habit of silence before I begin my morning devotion. This is a way that I prepare myself for this time with God. To start, I will tell Siri to set a timer for five minutes. I turn off all music and turn off notifications on my phone. I avoid anything that distracts. When the alarm goes off at the end of five minutes, I am amazed at how fast the time went.
I challenged our congregation to practice this habit during Advent. I would like to challenge you to do the same. And not just for Advent! Try it during the next year. Also, join the New Testament Reading Plan I shared last week.
So many people wake up and hop out of bed running. They don’t stop until they hit the bed at night. They go through the day frazzled. Don’t be that person! Take five minutes to know that God is God! Since I began this practice, I have found myself to be calmer and more relaxed. I have been more aware of places around me where God is at work. And I have discovered myself to be more productive. You never know until you try. It might be five minutes that just might change your life.