For me, the observance of Advent is about being profoundly counter-cultural. Even if it is only for a day a week, or a morning, or an evening. It’s stepping away from the mall, away from the smartphone, away from the television and away from the computer. It’s stopping to listen, not only to the whisperings of God, but to the deep yearnings that are conveyed in the earth’s sighs and in those of the most tired and weary and grief-stricken among us. When we are quiet and still, we become aware again of how fragile and precious life is, and how carefully and purposefully we need to direct our time, attention and resources to the building of life and peace, to the multiplication of compassion and kindness.