The church year, which sets the rhythm for life here at Godspace is almost over. Officially it ends next week, but last year, I started messing with tradition and began Advent early with a week of gratitude and thanksgiving. It was so good that we decided to continue the tradition this year.
Wow, what a year of gratitude. Traffic on the blog has zoomed and my heart is overflowing with gratitude particularly for all of you who form the Godspace community. Thank you for your engagement and encouragement.
I am delighted at the ways that our hospitality theme has been lived out. First we have provided a welcoming place for authors from diverse backgrounds to thrive. Over one hundred people have contributed posts for the various series I have hosted, providing a feast of perspectives and understandings. There is already a rich feast awaiting the start of the Advent season. Others have entered the Facebook and twitter communities with comments, questions and observations. Still more use posts as a basis for their own reflections or spread the feast as they adapt prayers and liturgies for personal or congregational use.
I am extremely grateful for the ways that so many of you have helped shape my own faith journey. Your posts and comments on hospitality and spiritual direction have stretched and challenged me. Thank you. I hope the blog provides a safe and hospitable gathering space for you too to grapple with hard questions that stretch you beyond the boundaries of what you are comfortable voicing in their own families or congregations.
Next year will, I think, be even more exciting. Our overarching theme will be reconciliation, and over the year we will grapple not just with the restoring of mutual respect between individuals who are in conflict, but with the broader themes of restoration of relationship to God, to others, to God’s creation and even the restoration of peace within our own persons. To me this is a natural progression from our discussions about hospitality. We cannot sit down at the table together or stand around the manger together without seeking reconciliation. We cannot be hospitable unless we are willing to be reconciled. We cannot be reconciled unless we are willing to be hospitable. We cannot sit down together unless we are willing to listen to and engage with those who think, look or act very differently than we do.
So why do I live in tension?
The tension comes when I talk about the resources we provide. I watch the traffic zoom on my post Why Not Simplify This Christmas, now with over 10,000 views and 2,000 shares on Facebook and I know part of what we offer is an alternative to the hyped up consumer culture. Of course we don’t produce resources or hold events with the intention of adding to the consumer frenzy but sometimes I wonder if that is the impression we give. I hate the ads not just for Christmas sales but now “pre-black Friday sales” that come across my computer and TV screens and don’t want to be part of something like that.
Yet I am passionate about the books, meditations, and prayer cards we produce and sell and believe they provide essential tools to enable all of us to refocus and renew our faith. They are also part of what sustains the work on this blog. We have just made A Journey Toward Home and A Journey Into Wholeness available together at a special price both as paper and e-books because we believe they will provide a pathway to an ongoing journey. Our prayer cards are being used not just for personal prayer but also in therapy, grief counselling, and for congregational distribution. And the Advent mediation videos have been used by congregations and small groups around the world.
So as we head towards Advent and Christmas this year I do hope that you will consider supporting the ongoing work of this blog by purchasing resources that help to sustain it. Or perhaps you would like to make a donation. Mustard Seed Associates of which this blog is a part, is a 501 (c) 3 organization. Donations are tax deductible.
Whatever you do I hope that you will continue to be a part of the Godspace community into the future. And if you have suggestions for good topics to address in 2015 and beyond I would love to hear from you about that too.
Thanks for all the good ideas through out the year. As to beginning Advent meditations early, you might be interested in this book Monastery Journey to Christmas, by Brother Victor-Antoie D’Availa-Latourrette. Interestingly, these meditations begin on November 15 and he explains the history for this in the book. A real beauty.
Thank you – I actually used Monastery Journey to Christmas last year and plan to dip into it again this year. As you say a beautiful book. Celtic Advent also starts November 15th so there are lots of reasons to start earlier than we Western Christians do
Christine, your book Gardening with God arrived in my letter box today and I am going to love it as much as I love so many things on your blog….your provide nurture for my spirit that is not met within my faith community and I am truly grateful to be able to enjoy your writing.
God BLESS you . with love from Mary in New Zealand.
Thanks Mary. I loved writing that book because the garden gives me so much pleasure and I hope you enjoy reading it too. Many blessings on you.