The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


December 10, 2008

Gifts of Advent

Advent is one of my favorite liturgical seasons. It wasn't in years gone by. I don't know exactly when I came to appreciate its dark, reflective, anticipatory nature. But it could be connected with a practice I learned when I was part of an ecumenical women's spirituality group for years. Each year we told the Christmas story, once near Christmas and once at Epiphany, each of us with our own narrative depending on which Nativity participant we represented. I wrote about the practice several years ago in The Lutheran in a piece titled "Reclaim Advent."

Perhaps it would've happened without that. In any case,as I said in an editorial three years ago, "Advent allows us time to surface our longings, to anticipate once again the coming of Emmanuel, to remember what it means that God is with us. Advent carries the gifts darkness often offers: the space to be quiet, to reflect, to sense rather than see, to be nourished, to grow, to be ready for the Christ Child.... Like the darkness of a womb, Advent provides space for our longings to grow and come to birth—our longings for love, healing, justice, peace." Advent points the way to the Christ, through whom those gifts are ours—ours to share. Truly, blessed to be a blessing.

What a rich and wonderful time. May the rest of your Advent journey be rich and meaningful. I'd love to hear what gifts you find in Advent, if you can share with us. Please feel free to add your comments below.

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