Friday, November 26, 2010

Try This! Advent

Advent begins this Sunday!  Did you know that Advent is the beginning of our Church year?  If you aren't familiar with the seasons of the Church year I have to tell you, they have been a tremendous gift to me!  The seasons help us to live our entire year with Jesus, moving through the low and high points of his life, with plenty of time for preparation and reflection throughout.

This is what I like about Advent:  When everything around you is saying "Hurry up!" "Buy this!" "Make that!" the Church invites us to slow down, light a candle or two (or four!), and contemplate one of the great mysteries of our faith.  God loves us!  God loves us so much, in fact, that God was humble enough to become human!  In the next couple of weeks, I'll share some of the work we do with the children during the season of Advent.  But I wanted to take a few moments to encourage you to observe Advent at home.

There are many resources available for observing Advent, in stores and on the web.  If you haven't already, go to Church and check out the table in the Great Hall - there are some wonderful meditation and activity booklets for adults, children and families.  We also have frames and candles available so that you can create an Advent wreath for your home.

Our Advent wreath at Church.
In my house, we have observed Advent in many different ways. The one thing we always do (and usually the best thing, really!) is lighting our Advent wreath at dinner. Each evening we offer a special prayer (often from a booklet like the ones at Church). Sometimes we spend the first few minutes of dinner answering a simple question (such as "How did you share the light of Jesus with someone today?"). The wreath becomes a touchstone through our busy days to remind us that we are preparing our hearts and minds for the birth of Jesus.  

There are two handouts on the table at Church with suggestions and prayers for using an Advent wreath if you need some direction or inspiration.  Take a little time this Advent to think through your Christmas priorities - check out this thought provoking video from Advent Conspiracy.  Also, explore these great links from Sharon Ely Pearson, Christian Formation Specialist at Church Publishing Incorporated:  Resources for Advent and Christmas offers lots of of ideas for planning Advent at home and Online Advent Meditations lists great sites  to use for prayer during this Holy season.

Peace and blessings to you this Advent!


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