“Advent: the time to listen for footsteps – you can’t hear footsteps when
you’re running yourself.”
“I am hunkering down right now. I don’t know where I am. This year has been hard. I have not lived this year as I wanted to; I have had to live this year as I needed to with all that has been going on.”
A dear friend left these words in a Voxer group about 6 weeks ago. Her year had not gone as she had planned and hoped. Health and employment issues with family members, deaths, and a host of other things had kept her from doing what she thought she would be doing in 2016. As November dawned she found that it was time to get off the hamster wheel she’d been riding for months. Finally, life was going to let that happen.
Now was a time to be quiet and listen.
And time to wait so she could discern what the Lord was telling her. She could feel the tug of the Holy Spirit, but couldn’t exactly distinguish where the tug was pulling her.
To discern that, she would have to be quiet and listen.
And she would have to wait.
Often in our humanness and hurriedness, we do not wait and listen well. We rush from here to there. Then we scurry around trying to get more and more done in less and less time. And before we know it, we are out of gas.
We can’t go any further. It is time to stop.
This year, my friend didn’t have a choice. She was playing the cards she had been dealt. Her time was spent waiting.
Waiting for appointments.
And waiting for test results.
Then waiting some more for surgery outcomes.
And sometimes life is like that.
But when we have the choice, we need to MAKE the choice to stop.
To be quiet.
We are halfway through Advent. A time of waiting. A time when, if we are not careful, we can get caught up in the hurriedness and busyness of the holiday season and completely miss the time of waiting. We shop to find the perfect gift. Then we look for the perfect decorations. AND we attend too many parties. Eventually, we are spent.
Undone and out of gas.
Today is December 12th. If you find yourself rushing here and there, doing what HAS to be done and spending little to no time doing what you want to do and what you know in your heart you NEED to do, then I encourage you to take a step back.
Take a deep breath.
Make time to spend a few quiet minutes every day with Him. The keeper of the plans. The designer of our lives.
Remember that Advent is a time of waiting. And waiting isn’t all bad. Our plans are just that: OUR plans. The truth of the matter is this: we are not in charge. HE is. And he has a plan we do not see.
In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the Lord establishes their steps.
Proverbs 16:9 NIV
Kris Camealy, the founder of GraceTable, writes in her new book Come, Lord Jesus The Weight of Waiting “The time God gives us in the waiting is a gift, whether or not it feels that way in the moment.” (Day 7, page 34)Recognize the gift of waiting and embrace it for what it is: a gift.
Maybe you haven’t stopped since the beginning of Advent. It is not too late to resolve now to take a few minutes each day and spend it in quiet listening to what He has to say. You might just find that you care less about what doesn’t get done and more about what you hear when you listen. Shelly Miller, one of the writers here at GraceTable wrote a book about rest. I learned much about resting, waiting, and listening from the book. Maybe you want to gift it to yourself and find your own Rhythms of Rest.
In making preparations for my own holiday celebrations, I look for dishes that can be made ahead or will not take up space in the oven when I am cooking the main meal. This recipe is not only easy and made on the stovetop, it is amazingly delicious. We served it at the rehearsal dinner for my son’s wedding in August and it got rave reviews. It will make a great side dish and reheats easily for leftovers.
- 1 (16 oz) box of rigati pasta
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 6 slices white American cheese
- 8 oz extra-sharp white Vermont cheddar
- 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
- Prepare pasta according to package directions.
- Melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, whisking constantly.
- Gradually whisk in milk; cook over medium heat, whisking until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat.
- Add cheeses, mustard, salt, and hot sauce, stirring until cheese melts and sauce is smooth.
- Stir in pasta and cook over medium heat for 1 minute (or until thoroughly heated.) Serve immediately.
- The recipe above is exactly as I originally found it. And it is good. BUT...I added 5-6 grates of fresh nutmeg and it makes even better.
- I have used half and half and/or heavy cream, instead of milk.
- I have also experimented with adding blue cheese - yum! Do adjust the amounts of the other cheeses or make more roux, otherwise it is too thick and doesn't coat the macaroni well.
- And, I have added bacon! You can never go wrong with bacon!
- When doubling or tripling the recipe, the cooking time increases.