Advent, in the Christian tradition, is a time of getting ready to receive Jesus, the Christ. It is a time of remembering to always be ready for Jesus to show up anywhere, at anytime, not just in December. It is a time to prepare our hearts for the celebration of his birth on December 25th. It is a time to empty out some of the junk in our minds and hearts and spirits to make a little more space for God to get in and have a conversation with us.
I usually choose a discipline of scripture readings, devotional readings, and art to help me make that empty space in which God can take up residence, at least for awhile, until I fill that space up again with junk.
My Advent discipline this year is different from other years. Inspired by the Practicing Prayer group at my church, Grace Episcopal in Norwalk, Connecticut, I pledged to go without internet or computer from dark until full light each night and morning. This includes doing work on the computer - bulletins, sermons, etc.
Of course, I forgot my pledge, but mi esposo did not. He asked me about it last night at 8 p.m. as I sat down to do some computer stuff. And so, I finished what I was doing, hit "send" and walked away until 6:45 this morning.
And that was hard. When I get bored I head straight for the computer. Being bored is code for I don't want to do any other things that I might be doing, especially tending to my spiritual life. Last night I got out my 8 1/2 by 11 spiral school notebook, which I use for journaling, and began to write. Then I prayed compline and went to bed. This morning I began with journaling three pages of stream of consciousness stuff - mostly about a weird dream about being at a conference in England with Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury doing a series of talks, talks, talks - and then read Morning Prayer, did my exercises, made my tea, fed the dog, and then it was full light and I went straight to the computer to check emails!
Of which there were two. One of them "junk mail".
This discipline, or rule of life for Advent, includes no checking email or social networks on my iPhone. Meanwhile, the iPhone of mi esposo kept blinging every time he got mail and it was all I could do to not automatically reach for my own phone and check if I had anything.
So, this morning, my question is this: I'm an old person. I didn't grow up with electronic media except black and white television and the radio and a telephone on a party line (which means one line for several households!). So while I have grown accustomed to - some might say overly dependent on - the computer, it won't be quite so cutting as it might to a 20-something year old.
So I ask, if there is anyone who is has grown up totally connected who is reading this blog, what would it be like for you to totally unplug for, say 12 to 14 hours every night?
Of course, older people may also answer this question!
Blessed Advent to all, and to all an unplugged night!