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Waiting in Joyful Hope: First Sunday of Advent
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Gratitude continues to flow from an appreciative heart as we now enter into waiting with joyful anticipation during the four weeks of Advent leading up to Christmas.

What a wonderful occasion to eagerly expect and express being thankful for Christ coming to us – into our lives now – where we desire His presence and need His Presence and miraculous intervention most desperately. The whole season of light and wonder is a festive opportunity for spiritual preparation.

Each year we are invited to awaken to the Christmas story in a deeper more personal way. And it is often during a time in the reality of life, when it isn’t ‘the most wonderful time of the year’.

So, once again we aim to stay focused on exploring the promise of fullness and wholeness in life – to reflect on Hope, Peace, Joy and Love – God’s gift of His Son and Presence in us, so we may FLOURISH in life and relationships on earth and with Him into eternity.

This is the Good News. These love gifts of God through Jesus are the necessary nourishing sustenance of our life and relationships, the true beauty and blessings of Christmas, coming into our broken world. So we open our longing hearts, seek quiet spaces for active waiting on the Lord in our pursuit of wholeness, healing, goodness and beauty. We open our life, being alert to ways God’s Spirit can flow through us a hope giver, a peace maker, a joy spreader and a loving safe place.

Then love comes down at Christmas, and we celebrate and thank God for Jesus coming to earth – to us – for His presence through the Holy Spirit in our ordinary, everyday and often painful life. Awakened by the promise light, we welcome Jesus into our homes and our hearts in the now, and anticipate His final coming again.

What are you waiting for in joyful hope this Christmas?

In what ways do you need Christ to come to you?

Create your own Advent and Christmas Celebrations

Here are a few meaningful ways I will be celebrating this season.

 

Advent Wreath

Lighting the Advent candles each Sunday leading up to Christmas, along with a Bible reading, song and a prayer prepares us for the great blessings of Christmas. Click here for an Advent overview download.

The Advent circle wreath symbolizes God’s never-ending love and mercy. The evergreen branches and leaves symbolize everlasting life, which God has given us. The four candles represent the four Sundays leading to Christmas. The most popular candle colors are three purple and one rose (joy candle).  A fifth white candle in the center of the wreath is lit on Christmas eve or Christmas day, symbolizing Jesus Christ coming to us.

 

Jesse Tree

If you used a Grateful Tree of branches at Thanksgiving, you can continue to use this each day during Advent and Christmas, or create a new tree. Hang an ornament each day on the tree that represents a devotional reading or part of the story of the ancestors of Christ.

The Jesse Tree  Advent Christmas Devotional.  Click here to Download a free printable daily reflection on the lineage of Jesus, with an ornament to place on a tree.

What other meaningful ways do you plan to celebrate Advent this Christmas season?

 Suggested Advent and Christmas Reading Ideas

Flourish: Discover the Daily Joy of Abundant Vibrant Living. Dr. Catherine Hart Weber   This is a good time of the year to read and reflect on the themes in Flourish – Love, Joy, Peace and Hope – great reminders of the Lord’s love and gifts to us during Christmas – and all year long.

Christmastide: Prayers for Advent Through Epiphany from The Divine Hours. Phyllis Tickle

Watch For The Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas.              A selection of reading by many classic authors.

Advent and Christmas. Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen.

God With Us. Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas. Edited by Greg Pennoyer and Gregory Wolfe

Preparing For Christmas. Daily Meditations for Advent. Richard Rohr

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