Confession 427: Remembering to Exhale

He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, human one! Say to the breath, The Lord God proclaims: Come from the four winds, breath! Breathe into these dead bodies and let them live.” Ezekiel 37:9

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I’ve seen a lot of posts in the blogosphere this Advent season about the importance of breathing. With the rush of holiday fever that sweeps our culture this time of year, it’s easy to get busy and stressed and forget to just breathe.

I love taking deep breaths. Did you know that three deep breaths are all it takes to shut off the stress mechanisms in your brain? Three deep breaths can clear your head and help you focus, calm down, and begin again. It feels good to breathe deeply–to fill your lungs full to bursting with oxygen. But for me, the real payoff of breathing deeply is the exhale. When you exhale, oxygen is propelled from the lungs through the veins until your entire body feels blissfully empty and light.

There’s release in the exhale. Where breathing in is about consumption, exhaling is about letting go. It’s a time to rid ourselves of the impurities in the world around us. When we exhale, we release the worry, anxiety, fear, anger, bitterness, sadness, and stress that can bind us. Exhaling allows us to empty out the negative so that we can breathe in afresh all of God’s love, mercy, and grace.

Advent is a season we should spend practicing the art of exhaling. Think of it as making room at the inn for the Christ child. Advent is a time when we can exhale our brokenness. Advent is a time when we can exhale our need for control. Advent is a time when we can exhale our desire for more stuff. Advent is a time when we can exhale the trappings of the world, so that we can then inhale the glorious gifts of God.

As you go about this hectic holiday season, I encourage you to practice the art of exhalation. Take some time to focus on your breathing. Push out all of those negative feelings and thoughts. Expel the stress and expectations of the season. Instead, focus on making room for the coming of the King.

Blessings and Peace,

Sara

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