I’ve been thinking about Advent this week.
Advent starts this Sunday (the dates of Advent change year to year, because it always starts the 4th Sunday before Christmas) and I am delighted it actually starts on December 1 (next year it will start in November). It marks the beginning of the church year and welcomes a season of waiting and anticipation leading up to Christmas.
In many churches, we light candles each week, representing and recalling Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. At our church, different ministries are invited to light the candles each week, and as part of our Prayer Shawl Ministry, I will be lighting the first candle on Sunday. The candle of Hope. We are using materials from A Sanctified Art this year – the theme is What Can’t Wait – and I can only hope 😉 we are also going to be using the liturgy for the candle lighting:
I will wait for coffee to brew … traffic to clear … seasons to change … sun to rise … you to say sorry.
I will wait for a lot of things but I will not wait for hope.
I cannot wait for hope, because I want to live with hope — today and every day.
I want to roll my sleeves up and get to work — living, serving, giving, and transforming with the hope of a better day.
So today as we light the candle of hope as a reminder and as prayer that we might stop waiting and start living, stop watching and start moving.
May the light of this candle burn inside us this week — inspiring hope and action for God’s promised day.
In addition to Sunday morning candles, my recent Advents have also included small group studies – last year we read Advent in Narnia and it was a lovely reminder of how Lewis worked his magic and how much I loved Narnia (also, Haverkamp does a great job with the material). This year, we’re reading Names for the Messiah. We had our first meeting last week (four Sundays doesn’t always translate to four meet-able Fridays) and I must say … it didn’t feel all that hopeful, but it did feel good to dive into ancient scripture with other women of faith to explore connections between 7th/8th century BCE, 1st century CE and today.
This year, though, I’m wanting more for the season. I totally get the link to Hope, but I can’t put my finger on anything else specific that’s drawing me in. I’m not gonna question it … instead, I’m just going to embrace it!
Tsh Oxenreider (you might know her from The Art of Simple blog or the podcast?) is publishing a book about Advent next year … and she’s letting all of us download the material for the first week for free. right now (link here). Her latest podcast was all about Advent and how it was season of anticipation. and hope. She’s inspired me to create an Advent wreath in my home. (I’m listening to the playlist she published as I type this post and it’s so good!)
After church last Sunday, we passed out copies of Presbyterians Today Advent Devotional, Straw for the Manger. It offers daily suggestions for “adding straw to the manger” by carrying out an act of love. We don’t have a nativity in our house, but I’m going to use a bowl and strips of paper. maybe nestled in the middle of the wreath I’m going to create.
In the midst of all the … ALL … that’s happening in the world, and our country … and some days in my own kitchen, I am ready to embrace this new season. with hope, peace, love and joy.
Thank you to Juliann for hosting and to all of you for reading and supporting me.
The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof. ~Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams
(via Sarah Bessey, Jesus Feminist)