Thanksgiving is over and we're two days into Advent and a new liturgical year. So, now it's time to begin again. Always, we begin again. What grace!
You may already have your Advent wreath out, your favorite music playing, and perhaps a few more decorations are starting to appear. At our house, we have the tree up and strung with lights (but no ornaments—not yet!), our Advent candles and calendar set up, and a fresh evergreen wreath on the front door. Over the next few days, we'll set out a few nativity scenes from our multi-cultural collection. We've also set up our Star from Afar and Giving Manger (true to form, I couldn't decide which one to start with and so opted for both), and my six-year-old is LOVING them.
Much to my daughter's chagrin, we don't have one of those pesky little elves (you know the ones—I refuse). But our stable animals have been making mischief every morning underneath the Star from Afar instead (an idea I got from Natalie Ard, the creator, in the FB Live she did with Jenn last week). This morning the camel, cow, and donkey had spelled out the word hope using jewelry and makeup they pulled out of my dresser, and she was delighted. She giggled and narrated and plotted how to describe all the fun to her friends at school. Then she promptly cleared away the mess without having to be asked so she could set another straw in the manger to prepare a soft bed for baby Jesus. (I hope to remember some photos in the future.)
Our church service yesterday morning was another bright spot in these early days of Advent for me. I always love the church decked out in greenery with Chrismon glittering from spruce boughs, the lighting of the Advent wreath, and the Advent hymns with their themes of hope, and longing, and waiting. But the sound of my child's voice raised alongside our community to sing the Doxology and later recite the Lord's Prayer was something new and unexpectedly sweet to me. I'm still warmed from the glow of it all.
Yet Advent is a season of darkness, too. We do our best to trust that God is at work in the dark, coming near to us in what will eventually be a breathtaking revelation. In the meantime, we wait, we hope, we long, and we pray...and we trust that Light is coming.
How are you experiencing the burgeoning light and the dark of Advent this year? We hope our Advent resources below may help you walk through this season's darkness and into the coming light. If you want more ideas and resources created and/or curated by our kindreds, you can find them here.
Waiting alongside you,
P.S. Our Black Friday Bundles sale ends tonight, so check it out if you haven't yet.
In the season of Advent, we remember the many years—centuries, really—the people of God waited for the long-prophesied Messiah, who eventually arrived through the birth of Jesus. The word Advent, in fact, means “coming” or “arrival.” It marks the beginning of the liturgical year because it is where the story begins.
During this season, we assume a posture of waiting. We choose to enter the story as it happened for those who came before us: with anticipation, with groaning, with longing, with hope.
It is no new practice for us to wait in the dark. We, too, live in a world of shadows. We, too, trust in a future victorious day. We, too, cling with a stubborn hope to what God has promised: the return of our coming King. Advent is a time for us to practice the “already but not yet” kind of waiting.
Listen to the Advent episode of the #SacredOrdinaryDays podcast.
Enjoy our Advent playlist on Spotify
Try our planner starting at the beginning of the season of Advent.