Sunday, November 27, 2022
Grace upon grace to you on this last Sunday of November, which this year, is also the first day of the Advent season. Advent can mean “arrival” or “coming into view.” For centuries Christians have marked today and the next following four weeks with practices of waiting and preparing for Christmas. You are invited to join me as we re-member, as we re-connect with stories many of us have known our whole lives. Today we set off on our journey through intentional days, following an age old story about a baby boy born in a manger. If this is a new idea to you, please lace up your favorite sneakers and come join us. If in this season you are in a place of weariness and grief, you are welcome to travel with us. Or if you find yourself in a place discovery and anticipation, come share our journey. Wherever we find our hearts in these days, all are invited to put down what is too much to carry and to step out with intention. Together we embark through the coming days, as we journey toward Christmas morning.
For many of us, it’s tempting each year to go through Advent on autopilot. Looking back, I can give reasons for why I felt more often thank not I was living through so many December days almost robotically. Too busy or too tired. Too self-consumed, too distracted. Whatever the reason, the result was that I found myself moving through these yearly coming up to Christmas days without getting myself out of the way. So many Advents I missed this set-aside time without welcoming anything in. I found that I filled the hours of these days with busyness. I got to Christmas with a knowing, somehow, that (somehow, yet again) I had missed something precious. I had busied myself right through this season that offered the gift of stars and songs and joy. Joy, as Carrie Newcomer would say, just below the surface of things; joy discovered from the inside-out.
So, this year I hope to be intentional. For the coming four weeks leading up to Christmas, I will be writing reflections on what it means to wait and wonder, to believe and receive, to remember and renew. The theme of the first week is Preparing. We’ll think about what waiting and preparing can mean and we’ll look at what can guide us in and through. For the remaining three weeks we will uncover and unpack the Advent gifts of Faith, of Hope and of Love.
You are invited to share this journey with me. I’ll post every morning on my website (lesleybrogan.com) and on Facebook. My hope is to offer encouragement that just may feel like the lighting of a candle or the offering warm blanket on a dark, chilly night. I’ll have words about waiting and preparing this first week, with a picture that brings me joy and then ending with a prayer for the day. If it stirs words of encouragement or a beautiful picture you’d like to share, then please do.
So friends, yes, these November into December days. Yes, to our letting go of our auto-piloting selves. Yes, to stepping out onto this Advent path that invites us to pay attention and celebrate each song, each star that may lead us on our way. Yes, to seeking the promise of great joy.
(thanks to Booth 25 for today's picture)
Holy One, gather us in. May these days draw us closer to you. As we step out onto our journey to Bethlehem, we do so with hearts open for your life-giving YES. Lead us we pray, Loving God, and may we be surprised by joy all along the way. We are ever grateful, Amen.