Pastors' Corner

How will you observe Advent this year?

December 1 marks the beginning of the season of Advent, the season of getting ready. Even though stores are bringing out Christmas things earlier and earlier each year, in the church calendar the weeks leading up to December 24 are meant to be a time of reflection and preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth, as well as a season to look forward to the future dreamed-of incarnation of God’s Kingdom on earth.

Like Lent, Advent can be a great time to try out something new in your spiritual life, whether alone or with family and friends. For me, spiritual practices are a great way to keep focused and centered in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the season.

This year, I’m participating in an Advent Photo-a-Day practice dreamed up by some folks over at the United Methodist Church. (If you’d like, you can follow my progress on Twitter @kmlefranc!) I’ve also decided to make a collaged paper Advent wreath this year, rather than trying to negotiate candles and greenery with my new cat. But even in a different form, it’s a time to stop, pray, and slow down for a moment of stillness.

At Head of Christiana, we will use the candles of our Advent Wreath to mark the coming of Christ’s light into the world; one candle for each of the four weeks, then the Christ candle in the center to be lit on Christmas Eve. What other ways will you observe the season this year?

Here are some possible ideas – what else can you think of?
* Personal Advent Wreath: This could be as fancy as you want, or as simple as five candles arranged in a circle. Set aside a moment each night to prayerfully light the candles.
* Storybook-A-Day: Wrap up 25 Christmas, winter, or other holiday-themed books, and open one every evening to read as a family.
* Advent Calendar: Not just for kids! Buy a commercial calendar or make your own, with a sweet treat, bible verse, or reflection for each day.
* Build a Nativity Scene: Starting with an empty stable or a spot on a shelf, add one or two figures every week until the star and the Christ child appear on Christmas. If you have kids, try hiding the figures throughout the house!
* Bible Study: Join us for adult Bible Study on Thursdays from 11:30 – 1 or Sundays from 9:30 – 10:30. Or, read through one of the gospels on your own.
* Personal Spiritual Practice: Take on something new this season, like daily prayer, journaling, drawing, a guided reflection, or something else that helps you to feel God’s presence.

Blessed Advent!

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