Over the next few weeks, a few of us here at A Rocha will be posting a series of short meditations on waiting in God’s creation as we prepare for the celebration of Christmas.
The other day, I found myself at a standstill in a nasty traffic jam that is becoming more and more common in my rapidly growing metro area. Fortunately, I don’t find myself in traffic very often, and fortunately, I have an electric vehicle so being in traffic is actually a good thing!
Let me explain: in ordinary vehicles, we burn gas the entire time the car is running, so even if we are idling, or stopping and starting, we are continuously using energy. But in an electric car, energy is only used when the car is moving forward. When I am coasting, I am using no charge except to keep the car on (no automatic acceleration). And when I brake, the car actually becomes a generator, using the friction to create a charge in a process called “regenerative braking”. The sharper the brake, the greater the quick jolt of electricity going back into the battery. So, on a particularly gnarly day, I can return home with more juice in the car than I started with!
Being in traffic is also an opportunity to think and reflect, which Advent calls us to do, and this particular traffic jam got me thinking about our vehicles. So often we emulate our vehicles, pushing on ahead even when everything around us is calling on us to stop and take a break. What if we could stop expending, stop consuming, and stop burning for a few minutes and actually create energy?
We see this all around us when we look. Fields lie in fallow while the soil recovers, forests gather elements from a fire to start over, and we are called to take a regular Sabbath from work to slow down and rest.
Advent is a time of rest, but it is also a time of renewal, watchfulness, and preparation. Changing our speed counteracts the force of inertia and in that tension, amazing things happen. In other words, slowing down creates energy, energy we will need for the incredible event on the horizon.