Advent is to me a time of waiting, not just for the arrival of Christmas, but a time of spiritual preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus and his return at the second coming as promised to us in the New Testament.
So during Advent my idea is to have a period of reflection each day using the initial letters as a focus for reading, prayer and action.
A – Anticipation: Try reading some of the Old Testament promises from God e.g. Isaiah 11 v 1-5. In our broken world we can look to righteousness, justice, support and hope for the future in the blossoming of the shoot.
D – Devotion: Do you find time each day for prayer and bible reading? Have you considered using Daily Notes as a help such as those available from the Bible Reading Fellowship? Take up the challenge of reading Nicholas Holtam’s Advent book Sleepers Wake.
V -Verses and Voices: Look carefully at the verses of the familiar Advent hymns and the message they convey, or maybe listen to Handel’s “Messiah” and other Advent music/carols which fit in so well with this time of waiting.
E – Environment: Consider ways of making Christmas greener. A real tree rather than an artificial one, no glitter, recyclable paper, a limit to plastic toys are some examples.
N – Notice: Look out for neighbours and those who may be alone for Christmas, those who have been bereaved, those for whom Christmas is a particularly difficult time and show them your care and concern in whatever way is appropriate.
T – Trust and Thankfulness: As we approach Christmas and it’s busyness and excitement, we praise and thank God for all He has given us through His Son and for the promise that we can always put our trust in Him. Reflect and read Psalm 100 as a prayer.
– Sue Counsell, parishioner St Mary’s Beaminster