Mark 13:24-37

I was never bitten by the running bug. In college, in an effort to make it to class on time, I learned to walk speedily and efficiently, my short legs taking two steps for others’ one. Still, I never quite “got” the charm of running. Ten years ago my husband starting training to run a marathon. Then he ran several marathons. And then ultras–in the mountains, on trails, over streams, 50K, 50 miles. You get the picture. Then our daughter announced that she was training for her first marathon. Not to be outdone, our son joined the bandwagon.

by Zachary S.

I decided to run. Well, not exactly. I employed a program that began with me running 30 seconds and then walking 30 seconds. Each day I ran longer intervals and walked shorter ones. In order for all of this to be tolerable, I downloaded an iPhone app that instructed me when to run and when to walk, all the while blaring my favorite tunes so I wouldn’t notice the pain.

I began running! I committed to 8K training. It was there that the coach impressed upon me the importance of being aware of one’s surroundings. Pay attention! Keep awake! No headphones, no ear pods, no music. “Just you and nature,” he said. “You’ll notice things you’ve never noticed before,” he promised. I became more focused. I heard my body inhaling and exhaling. I heard the footsteps of other runners. I heard fragments of conversations around me, sometimes in different languages. I heard dogs barking and birds singing and squirrels scurrying. I was awakened.

Are you truly awake? Advent is your invitation to wake up to the new and unexpected things that God is doing in your life every day, every moment. Wake up!