Happy Friday! At our house we are on the third dishwasher filling and enjoying turkey leftovers after a wonderful Thanksgiving meal with family and friends last night. I stay home on Black Friday and keep Thanksgiving going a bit longer. We don’t start decorating for Christmas til after Thanksgiving, usually not until December 1st. But I do start Advent early using the Celtic/Eastern Orthodox dates to get me started preparing my heart for the baby king.
As you have some time this weekend, consider how you want to spend Advent this year. Traditional Advent starts December 3rd so you have some time to prepare.
Do you need to add some quiet to your life? Do you need to say NO to some things in order to say YES to better things? Are there new traditions you’d like to start to help you keep the season?
Start with Music! What music draws you into the season? It may not be the holly jolly Christmas tunes they started playing at the grocery store right after Halloween. Take a few minutes to consider the music that draws you closer to God. You might make an Advent Play List to have on your computer or phone to listen to in the days ahead. One of our traditions is going to hear Handel’s “Messiah” each year and when we can, we find a “Messiah” sing along and join in! First performed in Dublin in April 1742, Handel brings the gospel of Isaiah to life and helps me engage the season of Advent. If you haven’t heard this amazing music check it out on youtube.
What about Art? Another way I prepare my heart is through art and scripture. Vanderbilt Divinity School has a great lectionary page that includes a link to ART that goes with the weekly scripture passages. You might use these works of art as a daily focus for your prayer time during Advent.
Try Photography and Technology: I love taking pictures and in the past couple of years I have used photography as prayer practice for Advent. I’ve really enjoyed participating by posting a photo according to the daily theme. There are two places you can find the lists of the themes for the day and you can post on facebook, instagram and twitter. You might even get your whole community, small group or youth group to join you in this! Check out these websites and sign up for daily reminders. Even if you don’t take pictures yourself, you can follow the hashtags and see the photos taken by people around the world.
Life Enrichment Center does #pictureAdvent
LECFamily is the intergenerational program ministry of the Life Enrichment Center, a retreat and conference center of :the Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
The Society of Saint John the Evangelism does #adventword
Finally, Pray as You Go has mini retreats you can take via your computer or smart phone. They have an app you can download and use as a prayer tool throughout the year, not just for Advent. For Advent this year they are doing something special. Check out this video and then follow them as Advent begins. https://youtu.be/m7Ak5bvDRSM
I am grateful for so many resources here at godspace and for the gift of technology that can connect us to things like digital retreats and art and music from around the world and from across the ages! In the midst of all the craziness and negativity, I want to help us all connect to the positive things on the internet and see how we can use the internet to engage God. So give it a try! I’d love to hear how you prepare for Advent and the arrival of Jesus this year!
I’d love to hear how you prepare for Advent and the arrival of Jesus this year!