How will you prepare your heart and Spirit to retell the story of God Immanuel born into the world, just as it is- full of hope, but beset by challenges. Here are some ideas of how to count the days until Christmas in ways that deepen the Advent plea, “Stir up your power, and Come!” I hope you will find one (or more) that will make this season meaningful and will bring you to Christmas with a spirit open to the love, hope, peace and joy, born into the world- our savior, Jesus.
1) Place an Advent wreath (any 4 candles will do!) in a prominent place in your home. Choose a time each day to light it. One candle the first week adding a candle each week. Use the weekly devotions attached to the newsletter (provided by the American Bible Society) or read one chapter of the Gospel of Luke each day as you light the wreath. This will take you through the entire Gospel and it will link Jesus birth to the resurrection reminding you of the reason Jesus was born.
2) Create a “reverse Advent Wreath”. Purchase or make an advent calendar with a religious theme. Get a large box or basket (if you have kids, decorating the box is a fun way to teach them about the season!) Each day when you open a new window and read the verse inside, add a non-perishable food item or household or hygiene need in the basket. On December 26th deliver the box to a local food cupboard. (A variation with kids is for them to put a toy they have outgrown, that is still in good condition, each day.)
3) Read a Christmas themed book each day.(see the list also attached to this newsletter.)
4) Create a prayer discipline. Set aside a time every day. Read a reflect on a psalm, add one extra minute of prayer for each day.
These are some ideas. There are many more on the internet or create your own. What is important is taking deliberate time during these 24 days to mindfully get ready. What a joyful Christmas will follow!
--- Pastor G