Pay Attention!

Feel the urge to go out spending?

Iet that feeling also.  Not quite maxed out on my credit cards, but it could be easy to be generous.

I’m not one to get worked up about the ethics of excess spending, our consumption culture, the urge to buy new and useless things.  Giving is good.   Buying helps the economy.  And the simple life is sometimes overrated (not always, but sometimes).

But I worry that when I buy, I’m not paying attention.  I spend carelessly, without attention to what I’m buying, and for what reason.

During advent, we’re encouraged to do this:  pay attention.

It is so easy to be careless.  I wonder if it is because we are constantly multitasking.  We’re bombarded with images and sounds – a cacophonous and distracting din away from the relationships and events that actually give us joy.

Madeline L’Engle, the author, wondered if the universe slowed down, just for a moment, when Christ was born.  She muses that every subatomic particle, and every galaxy, is a child of God.  And here we are, celebrating a human child.  We are all made of stardust, it seems, and this event is a beacon by which we remember what we are made of, and that it is wonderful.

I appreciate the sentiment. Even if it is merely poetry, it should remind us that what gives us joy isn’t what distracts us away from the world, but what holds us in awe of it.

This advent is the season of learning to pay attention.  To what?  The bundle of hope that lays on the horizon, found in the most unusual of places, tucked away in a corner of the universe no one would have ever have thought to look.

What are we paying attention to this season?