I'm Done Wasting Time

Tony Phillips's picture


I can’t believe there’s only eight days until Christmas.  I’m not running short on shopping time; all my presents are bought and wrapped under the tree.  I’m not running out of time to decorate the house; that’s been done since the day after thanksgiving.  I’m running out of time to pray.  All the preparations I’ve done for Christmas and I forgot the most important thing I need to prepare, my heart. 

So here it is one week until Christmas and I haven’t done a thing.  It’s time to cram.  I have 7 days (in my family we start Christmas celebrations with breakfast on the 24th) to do the work I should have been doing for the last two and half weeks.  If I want Christmas to be a real time of encounter with the Christ-child who came to save us, I’m left with no other recourse than to take drastic measures. 

The most drastic spiritual measure I can think of is something that I’ve seen other people do, and always thought would be impossible for me.  I’m going to impose on myself a media fast for the next week.  Starting this morning (Tuesday Dec 17th, 2013) at 6am I am only going to consume media that is either spiritually formative or work related.* 

I spend all day every day sitting at my desk.  My Facebook and Twitter feeds tick away incessantly letting me know every little thing that happens in the sports and news worlds or in the minds of my wonderful but often trifling friends and family; meanwhile my phone fills my ears with an endless stream of sports talk radio.  When I get home, it’s Barney and Bubble Guppies until dinner. Then, after my daughter’s bedtime, it’s either more sports or, if the Blues aren’t playing, old episodes of Law & Order and Seinfeld.  My life is a gluttonous feast of mental and spiritual junk food.

My guess is that I’m not the only one who’s been slacking off this Advent, nor am I the only one who gorges daily on an unfulfilling cornucopia of TV, radio, and social media.  If you’re like me I’d like to challenge you to join me in this media fast.  Let’s replace our morning social media round up by reflecting on the scriptures from daily mass.  Let’s replace our constant stream of Eminem, Rihanna and Miley (or in my case discussion about who the Rams should draft this April) with some Christmas music that is actually about the gift of the Incarnation.  I suggest the Jars of Clay Holiday station on Pandora.  Instead of watching TV when we get home, lets help around the house cleaning or wrapping presents so our families can have more time to relax.  And most importantly, with our now ample free time, let’s take some time to pray.  Over the next week many parishes are going to have evening prayer services, many of which will have Confessions available.  I’m going to find one nearby and go.  I hope you do too.


*Disclaimer: I will be going to a special event tomorrow night that involves watching a movie with my wife.  It’s a date night we’ve been planning for several weeks and is important to our marriage.  But I will be skipping the annual Bragging Rights game between Mizzou and Illinois, so I got that going for me…which is nice.