The seasons of Advent and Christmas offers us ample opportunities to embrace the spiritual practices of waiting, patience, hope, and joy. These are wise teachers but they come to us during the rush and clamor of the holiday season, a time when many of us are overwhelmed with obligations and extra work.

Instead of caving in to the stress of the holidays, let us stop briefly during Advent and the twelve days of Christmas to refresh our mind, body, and soul with inspirational quotations that show us another path through the season.

Waiting is a hard discipline in this hurry culture. We want things to happen on our timetables and when they don't, we get upset, depressed, or angry. It is difficult to wait when our consumer culture brainwashes us daily into the ideal of instant gratification; anything that takes too long isn't worth getting. The season beckons us to an active kind of waiting that opens our hearts and paves the way for the wonder and peace of Christmas.

The spiritual practice of patience is another virtue which goes against the grain of how we live most days. God, in our view, has a wonderful sense of humor. Since most of us haven't gotten the point of patience, we are given plenty of opportunities to practice it! This is an ideal time of the year to be more patient with our loved ones, those we work with, and the general public. In each instance, we can realize that there is no way to push the river or hasten the harvest. Little by little, we can attune ourselves to the slow work of God.

Hope is an aspect of Advent that demands our attention and allegiance. It is a spiritual practice that is really needed as the days get shorter, the nights get longer, and the year comes to its conclusion. Hope is an orientation of the heart, a renewable energy source that comes from the grace of God. It provides a perfect antidote to the exhaustion and inertia that so many feel during the holidays. Hope counsels us that all is well and that we can make it through tough times and dark nights of the soul.

The theme we have chosen to emphasize during the twelve days of Christmas is joy. It is the pure and simple delight in being alive. Joy is our elated response to feelings of happiness, experiences of pleasure, and awareness of abundance. It is also the deep satisfaction we know when we are able to serve others and be glad for their good fortune.

May Advent and Christmas be a pure and holy joy for you and your loved ones!

Wisdom on Waiting, Patience, Hope, and Joy for Advent and the 12 Days of Christmas

(We invite you to return here each day of the season to read, reflect, and relish a new quote)