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Note for Advent 1 2019

“The difference between a path and a road is not only the obvious one. A path is little more than a habit that comes with knowledge of a place. It is a sort of ritual of familiarity. As a form, it is a form of contact with a known landscape. It is not destructive. It is the perfect adaptation, through experience and familiarity, of movement to place; it obeys the natural contours . . . A road, on the other hand, even the most primitive road, embodies a resistance against the landscape.”  – Wendell Berry, “A Native Hill”: Recollected Essays 1965-1980, New York: North Point Press 1981 p. 79

Advent is our path to the manger where we find our Lord as a baby in his mother’s lap, under his earthly father’s eyes, wrapped in swaddling clothes and starlight.

The merchant provides us with many roads to piles of presents. It can feel like we have bulldozed our way to Christmas.

Before you settle in for a diatribe against consumerism, let me just say that I am advocating a holy Advent filled with candlelight and soft laughter, family and friends and a quiet faith.

I have railed against the Worship of More for a couple of decades, but I love presents too. I love giving presents to our children and getting them. But, we all know that the season of shopping gets out of hand, and we end up worshipping foreign gods and being fools at some point.

Slow down. Take time to amble along the path of Advent this year. Notice how you feel and cultivate peace and a sense of preparation for our King’s coming. Set up an Advent wreath. Light candles. Take time for ambling prayer.

The season is finally cool. So make a point of a daily walking prayer as part of your seasonal practice. Walk around the church and pray for us your family that gathers here with you. Walk around your block or your office building and pray. If you cannot walk easily, sit quietly and pray for the church, your coworkers, your family.

Think of Advent as a reclaiming of time to slow down just a little, pray quietly, and ponder.

Advent begins the Christian liturgical year. So Sunday is our new beginning. If 2019 feels like it got away from you, this is a perfect time to let go of some of what you have been chasing and rest. New beginnings should always begin in quiet.

You will find that when you slow down, the right things get done.

I am going to be making time this season at the office for ambling conversation on Tuesday afternoons. We began almost four years ago with tea on Tuesdays at four. So we are returning to an old habit. Join me in my office for tea this Advent as we prepare for Christ together.

There is more than enough to enrich your quiet this December beginning with The Messiah Part 1 on December 1. Then on the 7th there is our annual Advent Dinner, and the 14th is the Quiet Day hosted by the Daughters of the King. We are adding a Blue Christmas service for those who have lost someone at the holidays on the 22nd at 6 pm. The details of the season are below, but please join us and be a part of Christ at Christ Church this season.