Twice a week I attend an early morning yoga class. I was skeptical about yoga when I started. I had heard that for maintaining or increasing flexibility it's nearly unmatched. So roughly ten years ago I gave it a try. I'm totally hooked. It is a fantastic way to work on flexibility. It does way more than that, too. It also encourages mindfulness. I've grown to value that part just as much.

Often at the beginning of class the first instruction we receive is an encouragement to turn our focus toward our breath. Concentrating on your breathing helps you let go of the things cluttering your mind. The instructor then invites us to "arrive" in our body and on our mat. This used to sound "new-agey" to me. It doesn't anymore. It doesn't because it's actually a very helpful practice. Both in yoga and in life! I do need help arriving in and focusing on my body (and on what's important in life) because my focus is usually splintered toward a whole host of things from mentally reviewing my schedule for the day to rehashing a hard conversation I had the evening prior - with loads of other mental distractions in between. "Arriving" helps me clear those distractions away and gives me a more singular focus.

This morning after class I started thinking about another kind of "arriving" - the arrival of Advent, which itself means "arrival." Mother Theresa once indicated her concern that we in the Western world are so dulled by superficial distractions that we are incapable of hearing the voice of God calling to us from within, let alone listening to it.

Because Advent invites us to focus on God coming into our midst, or as Eugene Peterson puts it - moving into the neighborhood, I want to focus well. I want to resist superficial distractions and arrive in this present moment with an openness and readiness for the arrival of the One who moved into our neighborhood to be near us with grace and truth and light and love and joy.

In Advent hope,