Hello again friends. Sorry it's been so long since I've posted on here! This season always gets super busy for us, and this has unfortunately been one of the things I've back-burnered. Overall, it just feels like there's been a lot of hustle in our lives lately. I notice this when I sit down to plan out our meals for the week and realize that we may only have one night to spend at home that week, that we'll just be stringing out leftovers and lunch meat for all the in-between meals. To quote Bilbo Baggins, it feels "like butter over too much bread."
I needed Advent this year. I needed the focus, the intentionality, the slowing down, the connection that comes from reading prayers that have been murmured by so many over hundreds of years in agreement. Advent feels ancient and communal, and that's part of why I love it so much. We're only a few days into Advent and already, I feel my spirit opening back up. It feels like a centering inhale, the first breath in bringing everything into balance.
One of the themes I've been finding in my Advent readings is raising up our heads, which is truly what it feels like. It feels like looking up and being surprised to find hope and expectation and peace in the middle of a lot of chaos.
In Macrina Wiederkehr's book of prayers, "Seven Sacred Pauses," she opens and closes each time of prayer and Scripture reading with an antiphon, just a short sentence to help focus. It seems that my Advent antiphon is, "I keep my head up in expectation." Lately, I've been keeping my head down, plugging away at the task in front of me. It feels like the only times I actually raise my head are on the drive to and from work. And raising the head of my spirit in that way feels a lot like yoga- it brings things back into balance; it's inhaling, palms open, and feeling centered, grounded.
In this season, I hope you will take some time to raise your head, to read back over the Old Testament prophesies of the coming Messiah, the New Testament promises of our victorious King, the Gospel story of how Jesus came. I hope you will whisper some ancient prayers and ask for God to fill you with the hope of His coming, with the truth of the good news of God With Us.
"We seek the mighty God in the most unlikely places as a child in a stable, and in an empty tomb. May God hear these prayers, which come from the unlikely corners of our lives. Prayers of the People, concluding with: Give us ears to hear, O God, and eyes to watch, that we may know your presence in our midst during this holy season of joy as we anticipate the coming of Jesus Christ. Amen."
If you're interested in observing Advent this season, here are some helpful resources:
- The Greatest Gift- by Ann Voskamp
- Preparing for Christmas : Daily Meditations for Advent- by Richard Rohr
- IF: Equip delivers daily Advent readings to your inbox (they sent out the prayer above)