The beginning of Advent is still two months away. It starts December 1st, but it is time to get ready. Some of the stores are way ahead of us with Christmas decorations and gifts already prominently on display. They know that the longer and the more intentionally we think about an event before it happens, the more it will fill our consciousness.
I want to invite you to prepare for the real Advent and Christmas story. Last year’s theme was Let Us Wait As Children Wait. The blog posts were some of the most profound I have read. This year’s theme is Coming Home: Uncovering Our Roots in the Advent Story.
Joan Chittister in The Liturgical Year says: The function of Advent is to remind us what we’re waiting for as we go through life too busy with things that do not matter to remember the things that do (61). She goes on to challenge us by saying: Advent asks the question, what is it for which you are spending your life?
The incredible popularity of my prayer Lord Help Me to Live Simply on Godspace and Facebook this week has made me aware of how pertinent this question is. We all desperately crave more meaningful, less cluttered lives. Yet we rarely take the time to slow down and give up the urgent for the important. In preparation for Christmas and Advent this year consider her challenge. What is it that you are spending your life for?
Advent means coming and the season beckons us towards three comings we need to ponder on. The first coming, Chittister writes about is the remembrance of Jesus coming in the flesh, an infant whose birth captivates our hearts yet makes few, if any demands on our souls. For many the story is nothing more than a children’s story, a soothing tale that is little more than an add on to the secular celebration of consumption and overindulgence.
The next coming to which Advent calls our attention is the coming of the presence of God recognized among us now in the Scripture, in the Eucharist, in the community itself. This coming makes Jesus present in our own lives, eternally enlivening, eternally with us. (65)
The final coming to which Advent points us is the Second Coming of Christ, what my husband Tom calls Advent II homecoming. It is this coming that whets the desire of the adult soul. (65) We await with deep longing the return of Christ at the end of time when the eternal world of God for which we strive with every breath will come in all its fullness.
So think about how you could participate with us this Advent and Christmas season:
First save the date for our pre-Advent retreat Stop the Madness – Return to Our Senses in Advent. This will be held November 16th at the Mustard Seed House in Seattle, but we also hope to have an online download available for those who cannot attend. So set aside time in the next couple of months to prepare your heart for the coming of Christ.
Second, this is your invitation to participate in our Advent/Christmas series Coming Home: Uncovering Our Roots in the Advent Story. Consider writing a blog post that reflects on the question Which coming are you waiting for this Advent? Chittister reminds us that the comings – past, present and future- all live together in one long sigh of the soul (66) yet one aspect of Advent always grabs our attention more than others.
This series should provide plenty of scope for all of us, no matter where we are at in our journeys. I hope that you will participate and invite others to join the journey too. Posts should be 600 – 800 words. Please include a short bio with links you want included, and jpgs of photos with credits for the photos.
If you would like to contribute a post for this series leave a comment here or sign up to receive ongoing information in the Godspace Writing Community on Facebook or email me at email@example.com for more details. If you know of others who might be interested please send them the link. I hope that this series will provide us with a rich array of viewpoints from around the world so that together we grow in our faith and rediscover some of the wonder and awe of the coming of Christ.
Third sign up to follow Godspace daily and encourage your friends to do so too. We will post daily meditations, weekly liturgies and podcasts, and other resources to help prepare you for the coming of Christ.
The Advent season kicks off the liturgical year and we want to make sure we begin it right – but that won’t happen unless we put effort and discipline into it. So we hope that you will join us this year.