To properly enter into the Advent season, I want to re-visit an earlier Lenten devotion about a home chapel, worship space or prayer corner. I asked then, and ask again now, that you reserve some modest space as sacred space in which you pray, read scripture, ponder these and other devotional materials, and adorn this sacred space with anything which brings you into a more reflective, worshipful personal attitude. Candles, crosses, prayer books, bibles, icons, religious art, prayer shawls…almost anything which reminds you of church, God and pietistic endeavor will do nicely! For some of us our entire residence is becoming a prayer space so feel free to do it up well, especially as we are being encouraged to spend more time at home this winter. I am setting up Advent just after completing this blog so we can walk this journey together! Here’s what I am using for good Advent space, and if you’ve already fully unleashed Christmas decorations everywhere in the house, that’s fine too, especially this year!
- An Advent dining room table anchored by a homemade Advent Wreath. Helpful instructions to make an at-home Wreath are included in your Advent Bag we’ve delivered to local households, or just find the following items: Fir, pine or evergreen tree branches or sprigs to fashion a round table Wreath. I will thread these pine trimmings with pliable newly cut thin branches from the rectory yard to hold the Wreath together on the table. I cull fresh pine cones for decoration, and sometimes use cranberries or other brightly colored berries also. I fashion the Wreath around four equidistant candle holders holding three purple candles and one pink candle. Some prefer situating one candle per Sunday and then adding one as we pass each of the four Advent Sundays, while others prefer seeing all four at vertical attention. Whatever your brand of OCD thinks best here! I add a few very small icons on my Wreath to remind me of specific places I have visited on pilgrimage, or just about any picture will do. Perhaps you may want to print out small photos of one of the chapels or another church or beautiful place which reminds you of God’s peace, joy and love?
- Deep blue or violet color decorations. Yes….yes I did, finally. I went to Wal-Mart and bought deep blue cloth for an Advent-themed simple tablecloth. Being a native Floridian I never had four seasons to celebrate growing up, and deeply appreciate having them now. So, between the autumnal and festive Christmas supper table goes Advent!
- My C.S. Lewis Advent devotional booklet in my Advent Bag, and yes, the coloring sheets also, come out on my home chapel reading bench. I am a big fan of adult coloring materials!
- I am adding a deep dive theological tome, The Birth of the Messiah by superb Roman Catholic American bible scholar Doctor Raymond Brown, to that reading bench as my Advent study. I need an alternative, non-screen narrative to the pedantic, constant drivel of late evening cable news which contains so little actual news! Do you have a special study, reading or other project to keep hands, heart and mind active during Advent? May I suggest that you adopt one if not?
- Music. I am listening to beloved Christmas music early this year, the special holiday CD’s we pull out at this time of the year. I am also becoming more comfortable with longer periods of silence in the house, a new phenomenon for me with older daughters. I crave familiar, comforting tactile experiences this holiday season as we move into what promises to be a difficult winter season. I am finding new music channels featuring more reflective music also when I play music for background company, as I’m doing right now. Your music Advent strategy?
- Bible and Book of Common Prayer. Essential, visible and easily reachable! The Daily Office, in print and on-line (remember https://www.missionstclare.com/english/index.html?! https://www.biblegateway.com/ ?! Mother Emily’s superb nightly Compline athttps://www.facebook.com/EpiscopalVail ??) and the bible also.
We’ll get to exploring the great themes of Advent here, including of Advent bag’s first week Advent theme of Hope! But for now…time to set up Advent shop dear readers!!