Come and Slow Me Down: An Advent Prayer
Next Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent. It’s that time of the year when the Church calls us to slow down and reflect on the great gift of Jesus’ coming into our world over 2,000 years ago—and his continued presence in the people, events, and circumstances of our world today. Yet, ironically, this season of slowing down is often the most hectic time of the year as we rush madly around to prepare for Christmas. (This Advent might be more hectic than ever since Advent is the shortest it can be. The Fourth Sunday of Advent is Christmas Eve this year! I feel I’m getting gipped!)
With all of this in mind, I am offering a simple Advent prayer today that reminds us to pause amid the Christmas rush to remember what Christmas (and life!) is really all about. Jesus was a very busy man, yet even he slowed down on a regular basis. The prayer is called “Come and Slow Me Down.” It is from my book, Just Because.
Come, Lord Jesus,
You who took time to notice lilies bobbing,
Birds soaring, and bread rising,
Come and slow me down.
You who took time to dine with acquaintances,
Go fishing with your apostles,
And barbecue breakfast on the beach for your friends,
Come and slow me down.
You who took time to play with children,
Listen to people’s stories,
And share their joys and sorrows,
Come and slow me down.
When my mind is crammed with plans,
When my “to-do” list is pages long,
When I feel carried away by conflicting concerns,
Come and slow me down.
Give me the grace to stop and to be—
With you, with others,
With my own hopes, fears, questions, and dreams.
Help me to bear you slowly but surely into the world,
A world languishing and lovely,
Dark and delightful, sinful and saintly.
I ask these things of you,
Through Mary, the pondering disciple,
Your mother and mine.
Come, Lord Jesus, come! Amen.
Do you like the season of Advent? Why or why not?
How might you slow down this Advent? Any ideas you could share with us?
Here are two versions of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” The first is by Enya. It is sung in English and Latin. The second is the traditional choir version with lyrics. Listen to either or both!
The traditional version:
Any responses to this reflection and/or song?
PS: Please pray for the Advent Retreat I’ll be leading this Saturday, December 2, at the Marillac Center in Leavenworth, Kansas. Thank you!
Great reflection on Advent!
One of the ways I slow down is to dial down the social media that I read when possible. It gives me time to meditate and let my thoughts wonder. A relaxing bath can also help.
“Help me to bear you slowly but surely into the world.” That’s such a beautiful and profound line! Thank you, Sister Melannie. May your Advent be as slow and deliberate as a hand-written note!
Sr. Melannie…I call myself an Advent person. My Advent wreath helps here. Although the Christmas Season may feel like it is happening now, in reality, for us, it is the 12 Days after Christmas. It helps that I am not a shopper and this year I am leaning more into donations to organizations as gifts. Nobody seems to mind when I tell them! So, I wish you a most holy Advent as you prepare for the Incarnation!! Blessings!!
I love the Enja version of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”. I long for a time when I can really slow down and wait but having been a Liturgical Musician most of my life and the mother of a large family, it always seems beyond my reality. Yet, I pray, “Help me to slow down and wait.”
Thank you, Sr. Melannie!
Dear Sister, I was struck by your line, “With my own hopes, fears, questions, and dreams.” Thank you for that…my quiet offering to bring to our good and loving God today. He alone will surely answer what I need to ponder on, listen to, and respond to, in this short, but complex phrase.
Blessed and Happy Advent. Joanne
Thank you, Sister.
Touched me deeply as did your reflection on Being Erased. Wishing you much Joy during Advent and always.
Part of my biofeedback lesson is to do buffering: when 3 o’clock rolls around, it’s “Joe” time- I buffer or slow it way down and go into a quiet mode: reading, walking, puzzles, gardening, playing the guitar, listening to music, or praying (one thing and one moment at a time).
This line stopped me in my tracks: “Help me to bear you slowly but surely into the world”. Reminds me that it is not the big, bold statements, but the thousands little acts, done on a daily basis, that really show who we are.
I love Advent…because looking forward to great beginnings is so positive, hopeful, & uplifting. What better gift this season than the joyful anticipation of the baby Jesus.
I try every day to slow down with prayer but still the rush of life whisks me into a frenzied maelstrom. During Advent I make a point to prepare throughout the day with meditative music playing softly as a means to help me breathe deeply, slow my thoughts, & tap into my senses so I can appreciate as many every day gifts as I can. So many slip away with the rush of multitasking & checking things off on an overcrowded to do list. Quiet time to be still & contemplative helps me to connect with the spirituality of our Lord & my loved ones who have gone before me.
May you have a blessed beginning to Advent Sister!
How beautiful, Sister Melanie!!
Enya is one of my most favorite singers. Loved her version.
Having lost my husband in May, my path and mood are in tune with Advent. I trust God each day…one at a time.
I start and try to finish up all my Christmas shopping before the beginning of Advent. I also make sure to put on my calendar a few Advent services/talks my parish offers. I also take a few extra quiet moments each morning to read and pray with my Advent booklet. I like the “Little Blue Book” from the Little Book series. My Mother orders one for me and my siblings. Lastly a contemplative walk outdoors is good for the soul as well as the waist line this time of year!
I have been enjoying your weekly reflections for a few months now,
Sister Melannie, and it’s time to say thank you!!
I love the season of Advent as well,–the call to quiet reflection, silence, simplicity! Sadly, the world tries to pull us in the opposite direction, right?! But, against the tide, we must go!
Thank you for sharing your beautiful, thought provoking prayer, and a Blessed Advent to you and all you readers out there!
Thank you for the reminder through this reflection to slow down. Just what I needed! I’m hoping to do so this week as I hope sit for a couple going on a long deserved vacation…just me, their dog, two cats, a bunch of chickens and chicklets! I will remember you as you give the retreat this weekend in Leavenworth! One of my favorite places! Sr. Noreen Walters is the best! Blessings upon you, your adventures, your retreatants, and retreat days! Mindy, IHM
Thank you soo much for the beautiful poem and music! I will keep your thoughts with me as I am “rushing.” I WILL slow down and hear the music and know that God is near. Thank you, Sister Melannie!
Dear Sister Melannie,
Thank you for this Advent reflection. It is one of my favorite times of year, and each year I have always sent Advent calendars to my niece and nephews (and now to their children!) as a way to recognize and share the beauty of this season with them. Last year I added a new little four-year old to my list to send an Advent calendar, the daughter of a single Mom, a very dear friend of my daughter’s who had just found out she had pancreatic cancer when my daughter brought her to the hospital because of persistent nausea. She did well for about nine months, but now it has returned and progressed, she is in the hospital in a lot of pain. This year , before she went to the hospital, she opened two calendars from us, one for her with the image of the nativity held in the hands of the Father, as she was held in his hands too. My daughter tells me she decorates her home with many Advent calendars from previous years, as she too loves this season. We are all very worried about her, and find this recent turn of events devastating, as does her now-five year old daughter. Can you please keep her and her daughter in your prayers and in those of your Community? It is such a helpless feeling to watch such suffering. Thank you so much for your blog. I always feel inspired, and love the music also that you attach.