‘Tis the Season… ADVENT
Are you listening?
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“How many of you observe Advent?”…was a question asked recently of the Early Morning Men’s Group at Perdido Bay United Methodist Church. Everyone said they knew of Advent and were obviously familiar with the Christmas Story, but not many have observed Advent on a personal basis, much less celebrate it in the way it was originally intended. Pastor David Saliba recommended, “Advent and Christmas Wisdom” by Henri J.M. Nouwen as our Advent Study and lesson guide. Each daily reading is a quiet reminder that Advent means “coming”; Christ was born into the world, and Christ will come again. From the first reading, Henri Nouwen’s book got us off to a good start. To quote Pastor David, “Each reading is small in word count, but heavy in meaning”.
In the midst of Our Dark World,
“I keep expecting loud and impressive events to convince me and others of God’s saving power…Our temptation is to be distracted by them…when I have no eyes for the small signs of God’s presence—the smile of a baby, the carefree play of children, the words of encouragement and gestures of love offered by friends—I will always remain tempted to despair. The small child of Bethlehem, the unknown man of Nazareth, the rejected preacher, the naked man on the cross, he asks for my full attention. The work of our salvation takes place in the midst of a world that continues to shout, scream, and overwhelm us with its claims and promises.
Henri J. M. Nouwen,
Gracia! A Latin American Journal
Each day, Henri Nouwen’s commentary is followed by a Bible Verse, a Prayer, and an Advent Action … He went onto to say in the Advent Action section; “Today I will look for one small sign that God is present in my daily life. I will give thanks for his presence. If he is absent, I will resolve to find out why.”
An example of an Advent Action for me begins with thanksgiving. I am thankful for the ways I have been blessed, and I am especially mindful of the people who have been instrumental in praying for me throughout my life. Their love and support have allowed me to become an instrument of God, to share my time, talents, and service.
As the Men’s Group continues to read and discuss this book I am sure many of us are discovering it is never too late to learn and to grow. Other daily readings in this book include; Real Listening, Walking in the Presence of God, Claiming True Peace, the Root of Patience, and more. In keeping with my personal goal of lifelong learning, this book is the right book at the right time. Whatever book you choose to read during Advent, it is a great way to recapture the ADVENT Season and to better understand the major themes of the Christian Calendar. Find one that speaks to you.
“Let there be Peace in your life.”