Advent is coming.
It is. It's coming.
I always start out the Advent season feeling panicky, like I'm falling behind before I've even started. Time to find the wreath and the prayer book. Time to make all the lists...gifts, cookies, cards, events. Time to start getting everything ready. I'm not even ready to think about getting ready. Part of me wants to run away down the street and not look back, squeezing my eyes tightly shut so I won't see all the giant Christmas inflatables that are already popping up on my neighbors' lawns.
Maybe it's okay that I feel apprehensive. Jesus is going to be born. We're not ready...how could we be? Having recently welcomed a baby who is not the Son of God, I'm more than aware that there's a lot to do. We need time to make preparations, to quiet our souls, to sink into the knowledge that in the midst of all the chaos and confusion of our world, God is entering. God is going to sit down with us right in the middle of our mess, because that's what God does.
Emmanuel. God with us. Ready, or not.
But that's why we have Advent. We don't have to be ready yet. This season exists to help us become ready, to bring us into a space where we can prepare.
We have a choice. We can spend the next four weeks running around and wringing our hands about the crazy that surrounds us, or we can take a deep breath, accept that it's coming, and decide to prepare.
I'm going with the deep breath option.
If you are also starting out this Advent feeling a bit behind, these three things might help:
Blessed Is She. This slim booklet is so lovely. It's filled with scripture verses, prompting questions and space for your thoughts and reflections each day from the first day of Advent through Christmas. A lot of love and care went into creating it especially for you, the busy reader who wants to take time to ponder and reflect but doesn't have a lot of time to spare. I am really looking forward to using my copy, and guess what? I have one to give away to one of you!
If you'd like to win, just leave a comment here on this post or on our facebook page with either a challenge you are facing this Advent or something you're especially anticipating this season.
If you don't want to wait, you can purchase a copy of the journal here or by clicking on the ad in the sidebar. Your purchase helps support the ministry of Blessed Is She (an entirely volunteer effort).
Second, I'm sharing my favorite Advent music in a playlist on Spotify. You can find the playlist here. (If you don't have a free Spotify account, you'll need to set one up and download the software, which is easy to do.) I love Christmas music, but in this season of preparation, I'm not ready to listen to it yet. I fill the gap by listening to Advent music (yes, that's really a thing!) If you have favorites that would be good additions, drop me a line- I'd love to expand the list some more this year.
Finally, how about joining me in a photo challenge? I'm focusing on finding holy moments and treasuring them in my heart by doing #HolyLens again. #HolyLens started during Lent 2014 as a way to notice and share the sacred moments we find each day. I will be posting a list of daily photo prompts for you each week. Just take a picture related to the day's prompt, post it on Instagram- don't forget the hashtag- and share your everyday holy with our little photo-happy community. Your eyes and your photos create our shared experience, and we all get to reflect on the little bits of grace that surround us. You can follow me on Instagram here...I'm dere_abbey.
If you are not on Instagram, you can post your photos on our brand-new HolyLens Facebook page.
I need to prepare my heart and mind for the arrival of Christ. If you do, too, please join me in any or all of these things. Together, we'll be a little community of works in progress, headed down the road to Bethlehem just as we are, getting more and more ready to receive Jesus all the time.
That's what Advent is all about.
The fine print: The Blessed Is She journal giveaway closes at 11:59 pm on Wednesday night, 11/27/14 (so I can mail you your journal in time for the first Sunday of Advent). This giveaway is open to US residents only.