Advent has long been my favorite season of the whole liturgical year.
I love the quiet waiting, the prayerful preparation, the slow anticipation, the growing light from one more flickering candle each week, the hymns of hope in winter darkness. Advent is short and sweet, calling us to shared silence and wonder at what will come next.
Advent holds a sacred place in my heart as a mother. Twice we learned during Decembers past that we were expecting a new baby. Every time I’ve been pregnant during this small-but-mighty season, I’ve learned more of what it means to wait in hope, to long for joy, and to believe what is not yet seen.
Advent is Christian counter-culture par excellence. It offers the perfect antidote to the sickening stress and fanatic frenzy of the consumerist Christmas shopping season.
Advent does not ask us to do, do, do, more, more, more in the hopes of creating some perfect holiday. It simply asks us to stop and be. To rest in the promise of meeting our God, again and always.
Now I’m craving the peace of a quiet December more than ever. Life has been too hard to end the year on a harried note with the typical Christmas crunch.
So starting back in October I decided to give myself the gift of doing all the gift-buying, card-writing, and plan-making before Advent, all in the hopes of widening the white space in December.
(Lest such a declaration stress you further, please know I’m a decidedly Type-B person who never dreamed of starting – let alone finishing – her to-do list before Thanksgiving. But it’s been an eye-opening experiment into how another half lives. Also further proof that Maggie and Abby have transformed my life from the inside out. No longer will I wander the aisles of Target at 10 pm on December 23rd, aimlessly searching for stocking stuffers. No more.)
Because I hope my December will be full of less, not more, I wanted to share the gift of time and space with you. So I decided to brush off an idea I wanted to do back when my book Everyday Sacrament: The Messy Grace of Parenting was released. An Advent book club.
Each Monday we’ll gather to share some Scripture, reflect on a few questions, and center our thoughts for the week around an Advent theme:
I hope you’ll join me to “chat” in this virtual book club each week, starting on Monday!
(I wish I could serve you wine and dessert, too, but even the Internet has its limits. You’ll have to bring your own.)
If you’ve got a copy of Everyday Sacrament, dig it out for a new read. If you need to buy it, Liturgical Press is offering a special discount through December 31, 2016: enter EVERY20 at checkout to receive 20% off the cover price.
(Or you can grab it on Amazon, too.)
My hope is to offer you wonderful readers a quiet, contemplative way to reflect on the meaning of Advent. You have been light in my darkness this year, and I’m grateful to have shared it with you.