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Prepare Him Room: Creating Space for Christ During Advent as a Busy Musician

In the liturgical calendar, Advent is a time of preparation for Christ's coming. We are encouraged by the Church to make space in our lives to reflect on the state of our own hearts. We are invited to ask ourselves if our hearts are a place where Christ can find room to dwell in; and if the answer is "no," to prayerfully seek ways to make room for Christ.


However, the message of Advent often gets lost among the busyness of the season, and our culture's desire to rush into Christmas before Christmas has even arrived. It's a symptom of a deeper root: the desire for instant gratification that permeates most aspects of our daily lives, simply as a result of living in today's world. The world seems to skip Advent and rush into Christmas without considering the practical and spiritual benefits of having this preparatory season.


And as musicians? The idea of taking the time to slow down and reflect on our hearts during the month of December might seem anywhere from overwhelming to impossible. And while creating space in our lives through conventional means (such as blocking out time in our schedules or cutting down on things we're involved with) is a good thing, it's not always possible.


However, I'd like to invite you to consider some creative approaches. God's invitation through His Church to reflect on our hearts during December is for us, too. He knows the realities of what he's called us to as musicians, and He isn't going to leave us hanging with no way to enter into Advent in a deeper way.


  1. St. Teresa of Calcutta once said, "At this Christmas when Christ comes, will He find a warm heart? Mark the season of Advent by loving and serving the others with God’s own love and concern.” As musicians, we often bring our music to a wide variety of people through the numerous holiday gigs that come our way through the month of December. It's easy for each gig to feel more and more tedious as we go along, but I'd like to encourage you to take St. Teresa's words as an invitation to a change in perspective. Through the music you make, you have an opportunity to love and serve your audience. You might consider praying a special prayer for your audience before performances, or taking some extra time to greet audience members afterwards with warmth and kindness. If you're feeling extra ambitious, schedule a small concert at a nursing home on your own or with some other musicians friends; or if your parish has a school, see if you can come in and perform some carols for the kindergarteners.

  2. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: rehearsal commutes are an extremely effective way to get prayer time in. If praying on your commutes isn't a habit you've cultivated, I'd like to invite you to begin making a practice of praying for at least a few minutes during commutes. Turn off the radio, music, or podcast, tune into where your heart is at, and converse with the Lord. Make room for Him in your heart.

  3. No matter how beautiful or fun the Christmas music you're playing, chances are you will get sick of it at some point. When Jesus was born, it was on a cold winter's night¹, it was in a cow's stall², and there was no crib for a bed³. One of the beautiful things about Catholicism is that we can unite our sufferings, no matter how big or small they might be, to the sufferings of Christ and He will use them for redemptive purposes. We call this redemptive suffering. Whether it's carols, Handel's Messiah, or the Nutcracker – when you get sick of the music you're performing, be intentional about offering it up to God. The tedium and boredom will no longer be senseless. Instead, it will be given purpose and used for good.

Jesus wants to find room in your heart. In a world that shuts Him out, be the one to give Him a place to rest. Care about what He cares about, love what He loves, reject what He rejects (sin). Though Advent is an astonishingly busy time, it can be an opportunity to reconnect and grow in intimacy with God.


May the Blessed Mother intercede for you during this Advent season.

 

Citations:

  1. The First Noel, traditional English

  2. I Wonder as I Wander, traditional American

  3. Away in a Manger, unknown


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