A couple years ago, I spent a month in a cabin on Bainbridge Island. I was working on a book and I wanted to get away from the city and the temptations that keep me from writing. If you’d have asked me when I left Portland for the island whether I was stressed, I’d have told you I wasn’t. But the island revealed my stress level was at an all-time high. I only knew that when I began to calm down. There’s something soothing about the ocean and the forest. It’s as though God reminds us through creation all things live, all things die, and He is in control.
Advent is like the wallflower at a techno-dance party. It is the tea in a world of coffee drinkers. It is the silent prayer uttered in a Pentecostal-style worship service. It is the grief of a person in the midst of a Christmas party. Advent is the silent night between the wrapped Christmas trees glaring light. It takes paying attention. And it takes extraordinary religious discipline to carve out this space.
Years ago a psychologist named Viktor Frankl stood up to Sigmund Freud. Freud was teaching what man wanted most in life was pleasure. But Frankl believed man wasn’t seeking pleasure as much as he was seeking a deep sense of meaning. In fact, he went on to say “When a person can’t find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure.”
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