I love dessert. I often select what I’m having for dinner at a restaurant based on what the dessert tray has to offer. Give me a warm dessert with something amazing in the middle and I’m all over it!! To me, it’s all about the prize in the middle of the cake, that warm gooey center. YUM!
Definition: center (noun) sent r 1. Middle point or part; the middle point area, or part of something that is the same distance from all edges, ends or opposite sides. 2. Middle of circle or sphere; the interior point that is the same distance from all points on the circumference of a circle, the surface of a sphere, or the vertices of a polygon. 3. Middle of line; the point on a line that is the same distance from both ends. 4. Food filling; the filling of a chocolate, doughnut or other food. 5. Main part of town; the part of a town or city where the main stores, offices and other facilities are situated. 6. Place for particular activity; a place where a particular activity is carried on. 7. Focus of attention; the point that is the focus of attention or interest. 8. Influential place or organization; a place, area, or group of people exerting control or influence over somebody or something else. 9. Cluster or concentration; a place or part where something is concentrated or focused. 10. Political moderates; those political parties or the section of a party holding views that are neither left-wing or right-wing. 11. Middle player position; in sports a player or position in the middle of the field or court, usually responsible for initiating play.
This is the time where our focus should be on our own center. We can use Advent and it’s reflective nature to keep watch on what goes on inside us and listen for God’s direction. We often let the outside world control and direct our actions. It is when we pause for a moment and focus on our own warm gooey center that God has our full attention. It’s there that God gives us direction, fills our hearts with love and brings peace.
I often look at the days leading up to Christmas as an analogy for that quiet meditative state that I have come to appreciate over the years. It’s interesting that in order to fulfill the prophesy God chose to remove Mary and Joseph from their community and take them to a remote location in Bethlehem. We often picture Jesus being born in the dark of night, under stars and receiving the attention of a few peculiar, but contemplative visitors.
To me, this is exactly what contemplative prayer or meditation is. It’s removing yourself from those influences and letting yourself appreciate God in the stillness and quiet. If we really settle down, we also receive a visit in our heart from God, complete with gifts! By focusing on the center of our heart, the center of our body (breathing) and the center of our spiritual life we end up keeping a watchful ear to God’s calling.