“Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!”

I’ve found myself humming this refrain a lot lately, especially when I’m lighting my Advent candles. It comes from one of my favorite hymns, “Open My Eyes, That I May See” by Clara H. Scott. I think of this hymn during Advent because it reminds me of the combination of hushed expectation and the flurry of activity that surrounds us before Christmas. It is easy to get caught up in the pace and the twinkling lights and the parties. Have you ever felt as though Christmas Day arrived in a rush, leaving you wondering where the weeks since Thanksgiving had gone? I know I have.

This is another reason why I love this hymn. The lyrics remind me to slow down, reflect, listen to God and be a blessing to others during Advent. As I light my candles each week, I give thanks for the people in my life and for something good that has come up during the year. I think about how I can be a blessing to someone else that week, whether it is through an encouraging word or some form of community outreach. I also reflect for a moment on a challenge that has happened in my life and in the world during the year. I ask God for his continued help and guidance, asking him to show me what I may not be seeing. I then look ahead to next year with anticipation and curiosity, listening for something that God may have in store for me and for the world. Finally, I come right back to the present moment and stay there, sitting with gratitude and wonder for all that life is. In that moment, calendar obligations and to-do lists drop away. What is one thing you do to slow your pace and really experience Advent?

“Open my eyes that I may see
glimpses of truth thou hast for me;
place in my hand the wonderful key
that shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!

Open my ears, that I may hear
voices of truth thou sendest clear;
and while the wave notes fall on my ear,
everything false will disappear.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my ears, illumine me, Spirit divine!

Open my mouth, and let me bear
gladly the warm truth everywhere;
open my heart and let me prepare
love with the children thus to share.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my heart, illumine me, Spirit divine!”

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