Saturday, November 30, 2013

Advent Resources

Our texts for this first Sunday in Advent are isaiah 2:1-5 and Matthew 24:36-44, which you can read here:


Tomorrow we begin a new church year and a new season--my favorite season of the church year. Advent is a beautiful season of possibility, and this year we will be focusing on the Advent theme of "A Holy Pause"--our need to interrupt business as usual and prepare space in our hearts and lives for Christ to be born within and among us.

Need help pausing in this busy season? I would encourage you, this Advent season, to take on the discipline of a daily moment of pause--time to reflect, to engage scripture or other forms of inspiration, to breathe and find yourself rooted in God's goodness and peace amidst the chaos. Below are some resources I recommend. Which of these might you want to engage in this season?

  • Our theme is inspired by the small but beautiful book The Art of Pausing, a collection of images, poems, and reflections on the names of God. This is what I will be using during this season, and I encourage you to consider getting yourself a copy:
  • You can sign up to get daily emails from the "Following the Star" daily online Advent Devotional at I have written for this site in the past, which is geared towards teenagers but I think appropriate for all ages. It also includes some beautiful music.
  • My colleague Elizabeth Hagan edited an ecumenical collaboration called the "Baby Jesus Blog" that is making its debut this Advent, with daily reflections written by men and women who have waited or are waiting for babies. Check it out at at  
  • Upper Room is sponsoring a couple of really interesting online Advent retreats, where you can be led in your reflection and dialogue with others about what you are experiencing. Check them out at
  • Nancy and Joann recently went to a peacemaking conference addressing the conflict in the Middle East and found a lovely print daily devotional put together by the Bright Stars of Bethlehem, a ministry in Bethlehem sponsored in part by the Alliance of Baptists. I think Nancy is going to get some copies of this devotional for people who are interested in taking one home, or learn more about this ministry in Jesus' birth town at

Above all, I hope you will join us on Tuesday nights throughout the season for "A Holy Pause." At 6 pm each Tuesday, we will gather in the sanctuary for a simple time of prayer, singing, and reflection. For the first two Tuesdays, we will have Advent vespers in the sanctuary and also have a labyrinth laid out for you to walk. On the third Tuesday, Eloise's sister Trish, who is retired from running a retreat center in Canada, will be with us to teach a simple workshop on "A Introduction to Mindfulness" that can help us learn to be present. Finally, on Tuesday, December 24 we will gather to worship and welcome the Christ Child.

Be with us on Sundays and Tuesdays throughout the season so we can practice pausing together, making the space we need in our hearts and our lives. I look forward to hearing about the ways you find to pause during this holy season!

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