The Presiding Bishop’s message for Advent.
Too often I’m left feeling shamed and abandoned by the church in this season, because I’m a human being like the ones I hear derided from the pulpit. I may not line up at 12 midnight on Black Friday, but I do get all caught up in commercialism and I am needy and I do want things and I do feel pressure to spend and I am certainly no Virgin Mary in Advent, rapt in pregnant contemplation in the quiet candlelight of my room during these four weeks. And if I, being a committed religious professional and all, feel shamed and condemned by anti-consumerist, world-deriding sermons, I can only imagine how it feels to a secular person who wanders into the pews to be told with divine authority that their secularity has rendered them unfit for Christmas.
Daily Meditations for and by college students and young adults
is an effort to refocus our attention on the season, not to ignore the commercialism but to seek in it the deeper meaning of Christ’s coming. How to plot your own Advent Conspiracy has more:
Advent Conspiracy is about giving presence, which is often more costly and more meaningful than material presents. The movement is generating hundreds of powerful stories and creative gift ideas, many of which can be found at AdventConspiracy.org. Holder mentions just a few examples: The son who gave his father a pound of coffee beans with the stipulation that the father can only enjoy the beans when he’s with his son, who wants to hear his voice and get reacquainted. The dad who gave his daughter two blank journals—one for him to fill, and the other for her as she headed off to college; they would exchange the journals the next Christmas. And the 84-year-old woman on a fixed income who made donations to a charity in the names of her family.
Sharon Ely Pearson has compiled a list of online Advent Calendars and some background info.
Her list includes:
- The Institute for Christian Formation (Cincinnati, OH) has devised a calendar for 2013: Year of Grace (December 2, 2012 – January 13, 2013) that includes activities and resources for each day.
- Trinity Wall Street‘s offers a new calendar every year – What are you waiting for?
- A variety of calendars in English and Spanish from Living Simply.
- An Advent Devotional Calendar for downloading from Thomas Mousin of Massachusetts.
- Paperless Christmas from the UK in 2011 is still lots of fun!
- Busted Halo has a more off-tradition calendar.
- Loyola Press offers an online calendar or downloadable version for children and families.
- Praying in Color offers templates in which to create your own Advent calendar.
- The Society of St. John the Evangelist (Cambridge, MA) has offered a daily mediation via Pinterest.
Living Compass, offers a free daily meditation booklet for Advent. You can download it here. Its goal is:
The goal of these days of Advent are not just to get our homes decorated and the shopping done, it is to help us prepare our whole selves, our hearts, souls, strength and mind for the gift God so freely gives us: God’s Love as revealed in Jesus. It is a gift that might get overlooked if we aren’t prepared to receive Christ.