This is the season when our culture begins speeding rapidly toward Christmas. People are frantically chasing sales at stores or spending hours online looking for that perfect gift. We struggle to resist
that commercial current that has become so entwined with Christmas. We fill our schedules with holiday parties and church events. Travel and vacation plans are plotted. It keeps us off balance as we deal with the coming of Christmas while feeling that we ought to be in Advent waiting. Here in Burundi, it is easier to avoid some of the more commercial aspects of Christmas but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I am spending that extra time and energy in expectant waiting.
As For Me And My House…
A few years ago, our family decided to begin observing Advent in earnest. We wanted our children to anticipate the joy of Christmas but also embrace the journey to get there. It isn’t just about the destination. We don’t always get it right but we have managed to change our kids’ expectations for the season. Now, they look forward to the weekly Advent wreath ceremony as well as the (almost) nightly Advent Tree devotional. We try to preach with words and actions that this waiting is good for us and essential if we are to receive the gifts that God wants to give us in this season. Family Celebrations by Ann Hibbard has been helpful in this effort.
I have found several resources that help me as I try to enter the waiting for Advent. Here is a partial list. Perhaps you will find some of them helpful as you continue in this season…
- Sonnets by Malcolm Guite
- Reflections from Ruth Haley Barton
- Podcasts from the Anglican Church in Canada and Steve Bell
- the Bible readings are pretty good too
What resources do you use at this time of year? This is an ancient practice of the church so there are lots of resources that have been developed over the years. Take advantage of the remaining days in Advent to quiet yourself and your family. Listen for the still small voice. God still has good news of great joy for us if we pause to receive it.