When Life Gets in the Way


annie rim -when life gets in the way2

I entered Advent with a bit of a swagger this year. We’ve done this before! We’re figuring out a routine and rhythm that work for our family! I don’t want to use the word “expert,” but “confident” definitely encompassed my attitude as we approached that first Sunday in December.

You probably know where this is going. With a two-year-old and a five-year-old, was I really expecting sweet candlelit moments every evening? Was I actually thinking I’d have a slow cup of coffee by the fire each morning, quietly reading my own devotional?

Why did I think that I would find pause in December when I can’t seem to find it in October?

Often I allow myself to think that life has gotten in the way of beautiful spiritual practices. I imagine an almost monastic rhythm to my days but that just isn’t my reality. One time, I tried setting my alarm to remind me to pray the liturgical hours. It lasted a day and a half as my stress levels went through the roof at my phone ringing every three hours, usually during the most chaotic moments. I had to buy thc gummies to manage my stress.

I enter the season of Advent with an idea that I’ll wake up in the dark hours, cup of coffee in hand, sitting before the fire with the glow of the Christmas tree’s lights, devotion by my side, breathing into the morning. For a dose of reality: This morning I was awakened by a completely nude child letting me know it was time to “eat my coffee.” Not exactly the stuff of stained glass windows.

But there’s a certain beauty of life being in the way, isn’t there? Recently, a friend who lives in a cabin by herself in the quiet nowhere reminded me that it’s not as glamorous as I’d imagine; that she wishes for the noisy chaos of my life.

I guess that’s what I’m remembering. Advent is about life being in the way. It isn’t about creating quiet candlelit moments. It’s about pausing in the midst of it all, of recognizing that Jesus came as a small, loud, fussy, mischievous child. That God chose to reveal the divine to humanity in the most chaotic of forms: a kid.

This season of Advent isn’t any different than the ordinary season of October. The difference is that we collectively remember to pause, to expect, to anticipate. It’s a bit of a communal reset, to remember the whole point of these days of hope and lament and reconciliation.

I’m learning to remove the word season from my Advent practice. Advent is the state of spiritual space I long for year round. Shouldn’t I be in active anticipation beyond Christmastime? But I’m not, because life gets in the way. So, I use Advent to recalibrate and remember. I use it to not only long for redemption of this earth but redemption of my days.

I keep lighting the candles, pouring coffee, and sitting by the fire, devotion in hand. Some mornings this doesn’t happen at all and when it does, there’s no silence—I still have naked children running around, pushing their own books into my hands, reminding me that there is beauty in letting life get in the way.