FreerangeFriday: Advent is the Invitation to Believe

by Lilly Lewin
Believe Chair

By Lilly Lewin

Welcome to December! Welcome to the traditional season of Advent that begins this Sunday!

Did you grow up celebrating the Advent season? Did you not know anything about it?

As a child, we had the Advent Wreath at church that a family would light each of the four weeks of Advent. And my favorite service was the “Hanging of the Greens” at the beginning of December where we would process in with the greenery as we sang Christmas Carols. Kids of different ages carrying in the wreaths and garland during the candle light is still a fond memory.

There was an Advent devotional that people from church wrote each year, this was way before the internet and how many resources were available on line! Volunteers would take a passage or a verse from the Bible and reflect on the theme. But my favorite Advent memory was dressing up for the Live Nativity scene the youth group hosted each year. For one night only, my friends and I were a life size diorama of the birth of Jesus, including live animals that my dad usually helped acquire and bring over to the church. I remember that it was a lot colder in Nashville back then having to bundle up under the costumes!

When I started working as the Spiritual Formation Director at an Episcopal Church, I learned that the season of Advent is beginning of the NEW Church Year! It’s the time we get to start fresh and the lectionary (series of readings ) begins again with a new gospel. Prior to this staff job, I had been a part of more contemporary churches that didn’t do Advent they just jumped right into Christmas like everyone else. At my Episcopal Church, we didn’t even sing any Christmas carols in big church until Christmas Eve! We sang ” Oh Come o Come Emmanuel” at the end of service each week and we had wreaths with purple ribbons ( the liturgical color of Advent) but it wasn’t until Christmas Eve that the church came alive with color …poinsettias and red ribbons and the carols …because on the Church Calendar, the season of Christmas begins on Christmas and goes until Epiphany on Jan. 6th…thus the 12 Days of Christmas are actually AFTER the big day we all focus on so intensely.

And that is an Invitation to move slowly through the season of Advent and to enjoy the season of Christmas for a full twelve days…especially good for those of us who work on a church staff!

What if we view all of Advent as a series of Invitations from God?


I’ve been asking our house church, thinplace, about God’s invitation to each of us this Advent.
I’ve been listening myself for God’s invitation ….to slow down, to pay attention. To empty my hands of too many packages so I can receive the NEW gifts God has for me.

I love Advent because it’s the beginning of the NEW YEAR on the church calendar! We get to start fresh! Begin Again! And this New Year invites us to reflect on the birth of God with us!
This week we have an Invitation to BELIEVE …Invited to believe in the incarnation
Invited to believe that we are not alone
Invited to believe that God is with us
Invited to believe that God sees us as we are and knows our hearts

What is preventing you from Believing this Advent?  Pain, Politics, Anxiety, Busyness, Exhaustion? Talk to Jesus about where you really are today.

When I think of my need to Believe …I realize that my need to believe means I need to acknowledge just how much fear and anxiety I carry around with me everyday.  It also leads me to see how many times in the Christmas story we are invited to FEAR NOT!

Believe Rock green

Zechariah wasn’t expecting and Angel

Mary wasn’t expecting an angel
Joseph wasn’t either.
They ALL found out that lives were going to change in radical ways
They never would be the same!

Be not afraid your prayers have been heard!
Be not afraid you are favored in God’s eyes!
Fear not God is up to something BIG!

Believe Rock green


13-15 But the angel reassured him, “Don’t fear, Zachariah. Your prayer has been heard. Elizabeth, your wife, will bear a son by you. You are to name him John. You’re going to leap like a gazelle for joy, and not only you—many will delight in his birth. He’ll achieve great stature with God. LUKE 1


13-15 But the angel reassured him, “Don’t fear, Zachariah. Your prayer has been heard. Elizabeth, your wife, will bear a son by you. You are to name him John. You’re going to leap like a gazelle for joy, and not only you—many will delight in his birth. He’ll achieve great stature with God.


30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.
LUKE 1:30


20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[f] because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20

What are your fears right now?

What are you afraid of, what are you anxious about as this new season begins?

What is blocking your ability to BELIEVE? Talk to Jesus about this. He isn’t afraid of your unbelief and knows you and loves you as you are!

You are Invited to Leave Fear Behind 2

This week we have an Invitation to BELIEVE …What will help you open and receive that Invitation?  Maybe you need to create a BELIEVE SIGN or a BELIEVE ROCK to put by your desk.

Believe LASSO sign

Maybe you need help believing at all this year. Maybe the Believe sign in your heart has been torn apart and is in pieces.

That’s really OK. God can use those broken pieces. God is good with putting broken pieces back together and making an even more beautiful thing! Think Kintsugi! (see video below) The broken pot is put together with Gold and is seen as much more valuable because it is broken! And the BELIEVE sign in the series Ted Lasso is put back together in the same way!

The song at the end of this post is “Lord Remind Me” and it is helping me receive God’s Invitation to Believe this Advent. Also I am continuing to start my day with all the things I am grateful for from the day before and this is helping me to BELIEVE. Ask Jesus to show you what things will help you BELIEVE this Advent and open that invitation to FEAR NOT!

“But you, Israel, are my servant. You’re Jacob, my first choice, descendants of my good friend Abraham. I pulled you in from all over the world, called you in from every dark corner of the earth, Telling you, ‘You’re my servant, serving on my side. I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you.’ Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.Isaiah 41:10


Ted Lasso Photo 031213 scaled e1686845500273

Ted Lasso finale

©lillylewin and

You may also like

Leave a Comment