Advent Week 1: Anticipation
This week marks the beginning of Advent leading us up to Christmas. In the liturgical calendar, this is a season of intentionality that we invite you into with us, wherever you find yourself in the world.
We’ll be sending a weekly email for the coming four weeks with a simple advent / mental health related thought and exercise to help you pause and be present. (If you aren’t currently subscribed to our newsletter, you can do that at the bottom of our homepage.) Together, let’s lean into anticipation of what God is doing in us and through us in the here and now.
“Advent is about waiting, anticipating, yearning. Advent is the question, the pleading, and Christmas is the answer to that question, the response to the howl…
Advent gives us another option beyond false Christmas cheer or Scrooge. Advent says the baby is coming, but he isn’t here yet, that hope is on the way, but the yearning is still very real. Advent allows us to tell the truth about what we’re grieving, without giving up on the gorgeous and extravagant promise of Christmas, the baby on his way.
Consider Advent a less flashy but still very beautiful way of being present in this season. Give up your false and failing attempts at merriment and thank God for a season that understands longing and loneliness and long nights. Let yourself fall open to Advent, to anticipation, to the belief that what is empty will be filled, what is broken will be repaired, and what is lost can always be found, no matter how many times it’s been lost.”
(Taken from ‘Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are’ by Shauna Niequist,
‘The Advent Alternative’, December 10 reading)
REFLECTIVE JOURNAL PROMPT
Advent is a season of silence. Of darkness before the dawn. We invite you to light a candle, brew a good cup of coffee or tea, and do some reflective journaling with us this week…
“As I enter prayer now, I pause to be still; to breathe slowly; to re-center by scattered senses upon the presence of God.” – Lection 365
- What is something you are currently anticipating in your life? Consider this event or desire as you journal the following questions.
- How do you feel when you think about this desire? Uncomfortable? Peaceful? Uncertain? Hopeful?
- What things seem to stand in the way of this desire? Write out the pieces that feel exciting, hard, unknown.
- In this season of waiting, what might God be working on in you? Write out some specific things you’re experiencing in your waiting.
- What might God want to speak to you as you sit with this desire today? Stop writing and just take a few moments to sit with God and talk about this.
“Expectations leave us weary and discontent, but expectancy is anticipation mingled with joy. When we come to the Christmas season with an expectant posture, we’re led in hope – like the wise men led by the star. Expectancy sets our sights on God’s promises, rather than the empty pursuit of all that cannot truly satisfy in this season. Are you more consumed with expectations in this season or with anticipation for how God has fulfilled – and will continue to fulfill – His promises?”
– Ruth Chou Simmons, Gracelaced, Advent series
We pray this week finds you more grounded, present and grateful as together, we lean into advent together.
The OTCC team