FreerangeFriday: Advent as Pilgrimage

by Lilly Lewin

by Lilly Lewin

The Season of Advent is a new beginning! A fresh start! It’s the beginning of the new church year. So Happy New Year! (Traditional Advent is the four weeks before Christmas and starts this Sunday.)
 The Season of Advent is an opportunity to pay attention and notice what God is up to in our world and in us! It’s an opportunity to notice what God is doing in our own lives.

My pilgrimage planning got me thinking about all the Pilgrims, all the Travelers in the Christmas Story.

Mary going to see Elizabeth when she found out she was pregnant.
Mary & Joseph going to Bethlehem because of the census.
The Shepherds making a short pilgrimage into town from their hillside camp after they are surprised by the angels announcement of Jesus’s arrival.
The Magi, who journeyed the farthest, making a long pilgrimage trip to find the newborn king. Their pilgrimage took them two years to finish and then they had to journey back to their homes.

I haven’t been on a pilgrimage to the real Bethlehem yet. But on a pilgrimage to Assisi in 2015, our family got to experience a bit of what it might have been like to journey to Bethlehem. Our family went to Assisi to discover the home of St. Francis, who hosted the very first creche/nativity scene. We found out that several little towns around Assisi reenact the Christmas story by becoming Bethlehem for several days each December. We drove our rental van down several winding country roads to join other Italian pilgrims ready to experience the wonder of the birth of Jesus. The streets of this little town wound up and up and the community members had decorated them with shops that might have been real in the days of Jesus. Everyone participated. The streets were crowded, all of us ready to find baby Jesus.

Italian Mary and Joseph

Italian Mary and Joseph

Advent is a journey towards Bethlehem and a journey towards seeing Jesus’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.

What would an Advent Pilgrimage look like?
On pilgrimage, the journey is just as important as the destination. Advent is a journey towards Bethlehem and a journey towards seeing Jesus’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.
 As pilgrims, we watch and prepare to be interrupted.
Are we willing, like Mary, to let God interrupt us this Advent season?
Are we willing, like Joseph and the Shepherds, to let God surprise us?
Can we be willing, like this couple and the Magi, to take the pilgrimage to Bethlehem even when we don’t know what to expect along the way?

Italian Bethlehem

Italian Bethlehem

What would an ADVENT PILGRIMAGE look like for you this year? I’m not talking about going somewhere exotic or even taking a trip somewhere. But what if we saw the season of Advent as a pilgrimage to Bethlehem. How would I need to prepare? What things would I need to consider?


What am I seeking?
What do I need?
How can I plan to pay attention?

Spend some time this weekend thinking about this. Ask Jesus to show you .

You can print out the ADVENT COLORING SHEET and use it to consider the thing or things you need or want for your Advent Pilgrimage. You might use each of these journal prompts and ask  “How do I need___________ this Advent? ” or “What does ___________look like for me this Advent?”


Peace and Pause

Rest and Sabbath



Receiving or Discovering Treasure or Gift

Let Jesus surprise you! Let God interrupt you! Become an Advent Pilgrim.


advent coloring sheet filled in

What do you need this Advent?


©lillylewin and

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