There’s been a lot of research indicating we’re not getting enough sleep. The accelerated pace of our plugged-in lives only exacerbates the lingering anxiety that we’re falling behind – or missing out on something big. For most of us, this race toward Christmas means kicking up the pace several notches. So much to do…

It doesn’t have to be this way! What if we were to practice “Staying Awake” this Advent by, ironically, ensuring that we get enough sleep? I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to burning the Advent candles at both ends. But I can imagine Jesus wanting a different kind of Advent for us this year – one where we actually have time to take a nap, reflect, and sink deep into prayer.

Christ calls us to practice the Examen, to make tough choices, to cut out what’s unnecessary – to watch for what wakes us up inside!

—Fr. J. Michael Sparough, SJ, is a retreat master, writer, and spiritual director at the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House in Barrington, IL. His weekly video reflections can be seen at





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