Disciples, Apostles, and Saints!
When I think of Advent, I’m reminded of traditional images: the advent wreaths, candles, and the music.
I think of the readings we get each year: apocalyptic opening, John the Baptizer, and the angel announcing the Messiah’s birth.
And I think of how much we are driven toward spending money—even as we enjoy movies telling us that joy isn’t for sale.
Now, in recent days, I also think about this in terms of conflict rather than revelation. Try as I might each year, we still think of this time as the Christmas Season. And my own obstinance, doesn’t instill the hope at the heart of the Advent season. It makes me seem like the Grinch, whose heart predictably changes on Christmas Day.
What we do have, however, is something more akin to counterculture. And just like those things that mark countercultural movements, from sit-in and long hair to tattoos and punk rock, even to love of sci fi and comic books, what is lovingly practiced and enjoyed can become quite normal.
I invite us all to practice this season of anticipation, preparation, and hope with the grace and joy of something we actually like. Because it has something beautiful and courageous to teach us.
If you are looking for resources for practicing Advent, the most simple is the Advent wreath. They are traditionally made of greens and colored candles, but you can simply group four candles together, and light them through the season (one through the first week, two through the second, and so on) to achieve the same effect.
A much newer practice that I like is called AdventWord. It involves posting pictures on social media. But it’s main purpose is to get us to take the day’s prompt (which is a single word) and find an image in our world to mark it. As a practice, I find it helps me see my world with fresh, compassionate eyes. Click the link above for more information!
This new devotional explores the practices of Advent and may serve as an excellent starting point for anyone interested in being guided through the Advent season!