One of my favorite places to go at low tide is the Great Tide Pool. Even from the road or coastal trail the profusion of life is evident. Grasses and mussels that are normally under water are exposed, crabs are scurrying about, birds are enjoying the easy accessibility of critters. Sometimes there is a seal or two in the shallows, just hanging out.
This week we’ve had low tides in the afternoons and I have been there a couple of times. There is an informational sign overlooking the shore explaining what the Great Tide Pool is and what you might see. It cautions against trampling the delicate sea life and endangering yourself by walking on slippery seaweed, and offers this suggestion: “the best way to enjoy the tide pools is to wait quietly and watch them come alive.”
It got me thinking. As we enter the season of Advent, how can we wait quietly for Christ’s coming and watch as God’s reign is coming alive even now? It is hard to wait quietly when there is so much violence and injustice in the world. It is hard to wait quietly when there is sickness and hunger. It is hard to wait quietly when our psyches get rewarded for the impatience and outrage we express on social media or in conversation. It is hard to wait quietly when frantic preparations for Christmas and the many events of the season keep us busy and stressed.
When I go to the tide pools, there is so much to see. It is tempting to scurry about on the rocks, like the shore crabs, trying to see as much as possible. But when I am quiet, when I sit by one particular tide pool and watch, a richness is revealed. In this delicate ecosystem, everything is intertwined and nothing is wasted. As I am still, I can see signs of life at all stages, and the water that flows in and out, nourishing everything.
I recommend the Advent Quiet Morning, this Saturday from 9:30 – noon, as a way to enter into this season in quietness and train ourselves to watch God’s reign come alive. Our Spiritual Writing Group collaborated to produce an absolutely beautiful Advent devotional booklet that I hope you will use throughout the season; every day there is a new gift to receive. And on Sundays we will watch together for hope, peace, joy, and love both in worship and in our coffee hour series on the Magnificat, Mary and the women of Advent.
The best way to enjoy Advent is to wait quietly and watch God’s reign come alive. May this season surprise you.