By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Our lives are full of endings and beginnings happening all at once. Pages on calendars are turned. Time between the Thanksgiving holiday and the onset of Christmas passes in a blur. With carols barely on our lips, we travel ever so quickly into the New Year.
It is true, December can fly by! Special dinners and meal preparations, seeking the perfect gift and anticipated travel coupled with special projects and unspoken expectations may leave us feeling rushed, stressed, and overwhelmed.
In the midst of this whirlwind we enter again the Christian liturgical season known as Advent. Advent is a time of “now – and – not – yet.” It is a time to contemplate that which is common and anticipate that which is full of mystery and wonder. Advent offers an intentional pause. It is an opportunity to refocus, to listen, to keep watch, and to wait again for God. Advent prompts us to keep alert for the coming of the Christ child all the while affirming the steadfast truth of Emmanuel, God with us.
Did you find your folded Advent star devotional in the mail this past week? Use it in the morning with your first cup of coffee or at the family meal time. Instead of being bogged down by the secular Christmas selections piped in over store, car and elevator airways, consider creating an Advent playlist on Spotify, Pandora, or in your iTunes account. Choose gifts this year from the ELCA Good Gifts display for friends and loved ones. ELCA Good Gifts grow the church, fight hunger, and transform lives. Adapt your Advent wreath, and use an Advent Gratitude Candle in the center of your table. Have family members write a word, identify a place, person or practice that affirms God’s countless gift of love. Jot down those reflections in a spiral notebook and share them on Christmas Day. Read the Reformation Facebook Advent electronic #MeditationMonday and pass it along to a coworker or friend.
Give yourself the gift this year. Take an intentional Advent pause.