Julie’s Jar: Holy Pause

A single lit tealight sits among evergreen branches, cinnamon sticks, slices of orange, and star anise.

I think it was the existential psychologist Rollo May who noticed that when competitive divers stand on a diving board in competition, they always pause before stepping or jumping off the board, whether it’s a springboard or a platform. There is a space in time in which they focus, imagine the dive, tune out the extraneous noise: The judges, the cameras, the audience.

We are entering the season of Advent, which, in our culture, has very little to no pause in it. The world around us calls the entire time between Thanksgiving and Christmas the “Christmas” season, and we all rush head long to the commercial culmination on Dec. 25th. That’s fine, but I do wonder: For those of us who anticipate the coming of the Christ Child, how much does the world around us, rushing headlong to Dec. 25th, interfere with what many of us express as a need to fully take in this season of preparation in ways that don’t stress us out so much?

Maybe we can take a lesson from competitive divers, who know the value of a pause. The season of Advent is an opportunity to enter the space of Holy Pause, moments each day that bring our spirits back to our point of origin in the image of the Sacred. Consider when and where the opportunities to pause are each day, and let yourself catch your breath, feel your heartbeat, and know that you are beloved of God.

As we make more space in our own beings through the grace of a Holy Pause, we make space for the Christ Child to return again, perhaps in new ways, to find there is a space of welcome inside us.

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