Get ready! That’s the message of Advent, which began on Sunday, November 29th. But the call to preparation is the not the busy, rushed, frenetic pace of the world that is urging us to shop, shop, shop.
The voice of Advent is gentler. We need to listen for Advent as it come to us…Advent sounds
- Faint as the stars twinkling overhead
- Gentle as an angel’s voice
- Soft as the wind whispering
- Cradling us like the Spirit, embracing us with God’s presence
Advent is a short – just 4 weeks! – and sweet – filled with messages of hope – season which offers us time to prepare for Christmas. It’s so easy for Advent to get squeezed out of our consciousness – we all know what December can be like! It’s a busy month filled with shopping, gatherings, list-making, parties, concerts, family (and all the good and bad, joys and stresses that comes with that).
Who has time to think or reflect? Yet that is what Advent invites us to do. The Advent season is a gift – consider it an early Christmas present. Advent offers us time – even if it’s just a moment every day – to think about the celebration to come.
Advent wants to remind us that it is not yet Christmas. This is our chance to ponder this mysterious Good News in advance of the 12 days of Christmas. It is the exact opposite of what society wants us to do. Society equates Christmas with spending money. The stores want that activity to begin in October. They try to convince us that Christmas is a single-day holiday, after which it will be time to pack the whole thing away and move on to after-Christmas sales.
Advent says no to all that. Instead, we are invited to inch gradually toward the glorious celebration of Christmas.
- I hope you can make some space in your life for Advent.
- I hope you can make some space in your home for Advent.
- Here are some ideas:
- Make an Advent wreath – this doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It can be 4 candles of any color, set in a circle.
- Light one candle the 1st week, two candles the 2nd week and so on.
- Say or write or draw or sing a prayer.
- Think about who offered you God’s love that day. Give thanks for that person.
- Who did you get to offer some Advent gifts of hope or peace or love or joy?
- Where is God’s love especially needed today? Pray for that situation and those people.
- Where is God’s light shining? Where do you see blessings? Give thanks.
- Where can you offer some of God’s light? Look for ways to be an Advent messenger.
- The angel’s message is always “be not afraid.” Pray for people who might need to hear that today.
- Mary and Joseph are homeless. Pray for people who don’t know where they will eat or sleep tonight.
- Mary and Joseph are asked to trust God and do something new. What new thing are you being invited to try? Where do you need to trust God today?
- Jesus was born in a manger. What unexpected place offers you a glimpse of God?
Enjoy the journey of Advent. This precious season reminds us of the uncertainty and fear of the very first Christmas and the joyful promise that God is “Emmanuel,” always with us.
Look for God during this season of hope and expectation.
I wish you the wonder of Advent
2 thoughts on “Advent Hope”
I do always love this start of December, and think of it as the season of light. Some of my rituals are to put up lights around our fireplace in Portland, put a wreath at the front door of our house in Alaska, and put up a string of little lantern lights made by a good friend around the big umbrella plant in the living room of our house in the north. I like your advice about slowing down for these days before Christmas. My mother always had advent calendars for my brother and me, and then sent them to my children, and now I give them to my grandchildren. There’s something about opening those little doors each morning that makes each day of this month have its own shining.
Carol, I love your reflections on light – I can imagine this is an important topic in Alaska, with such long and dark winters. Advent calendars are also important in our family. My grandmother in Oregon always mailed them to us so there was great excitement about receiving that in the mail and then the daily adventure of finding the right door. It’s a wonderful way to count down to Christmas!