The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Preparing for the holy

"Open my heart; open my eyes; quiet me in holy stillness

What comes to mind when you think of Advent?" I asked a church group gathered late one November evening. "Waiting ... quiet ... anticipation ... the coming of Christ ... lighting the Advent candles ...," people responded.

"What comes to mind when you hear 'Only 27 shopping days till Christmas?' " The group groaned, laughed, then began a long list: "Shopping ... baking ... decorating ... rushing around ... Sunday school program ... preparing for company ...."

The rapid delivery of pre-Christmas activities contrasted sharply with the gentle recitation of Advent images. The responses revealed how easily the quiet, reflective focus of Advent gets lost in the crush of holiday preparations.

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