This year I feel called to enter the wilderness more than ever during the season of Advent. Usually at this time of the year we are gearing up for Christmas, and we certainly are doing that as we prepare for our community Christmas Eve program. However, during this Advent season, I’m trying to slow things down and be more reflective. For example, I am spending more time in prayer each morning. I’m also journaling regularly, which is a great way to promote reflection. And I’m also trying to “unclog” my life by doing things like unsubscribing to various blogs and email newsletters that I receive on a regular basis. These moves have led to greater reflection and a slower pace, for which I am thankful. All of this is my attempt to enter the wilderness, which is a metaphor I use for a time of intentional reflection and slowing. I also use the wilderness metaphor for a time of trial and trouble, but that’s not what I’m referring to here. However, whenever you enter the wilderness and in whatever way you do it, you will inevitably uncover areas of your life that need to be addressed. This gives me pause, but as my spiritual director said to me, Jesus goes with us in the wilderness, so we don’t need to be afraid. How are you preparing for the first (and second) coming of our Lord?