It's the week of hope. Happy first Sunday of Advent, friends!
Advent is one of my observances all year. And it's not about the pretty decorations or the special candle lightings. . . .
Advent is four weeks that slow us down when everything in our culture wants to speed things up.
It's four weeks that remind us that waiting is our work as people of faith. Nobody gets what they want by snapping their fingers.
It's four weeks that tell us the good news of faithful ones who have lived through dark times in their journey so we can too!
I love what theologian Walter Brueggemann says about Advent: “Advent is an abrupt disruption in our ‘ordinary time’ . . . an utterly new year, new time, new life.”
And don't we all need newness these days?
Though not common like many do with Lent, I love the idea of taking on a practice just for Advent.
Maybe its intentionally having more moments of quiet and meditation in your day? This year I'm using Chalice Press's Partners in Prayer as for my readings. (You can order your own copy too over here).
Maybe its intentionally taking on an act of service in your community as there are so many extra opportunities to care for others during the holiday season. From buying Angel Tree toys to taking cookies to shut-ins, to going caroling with your church at a nursing home there's really so much that can be done!
Maybe it's adding an activity to your week that remind you to not give up hope. A couple of years ago my practice was watching episodes of the PBS series, Call the Midwife (which I highly recommend by the way) You might think this is strange. Watching a tv show? But for me it was really important. For I really found the topic of childbirth painful, especially at Christmas. Yet, by watching these stories of new life unfold it was my way of giving my hopes back to God. It helped me to see the world from a perspective I'd long ignored.
Have an Advent practice that you (or your family) participate in every year? I'd love to hear about it. Share it in an email or comment.
Whatever it is that you decide is your way to make Advent more meaningful this year, do it with full expectation.
Allow God to meet you wherever you are.
Open your heart to the coming of something unexpected.
And most of all, say yes to those urges that could only come from the Spirit.
It's what the season is all about. Really.
Better things are coming. Just wait for it.