Thursday, December 04, 2008

Anticipation and an Advent Listen

I'm going through a great little Advent devotional this year entitled Simply Wait: Cultivating Stillness in the Season of Advent. Actually, I ordered it last year but got it too late to enjoy much of it. For this first week, the focus is on the word anticipation, a sense of expectant waiting.

So what I'm wondering is: what do you do to get into the spirit - the waiting spirit that is? Is there anything you do that helps you settle down and get past the commercial fluff and angst, and be reminded of what this season is to be about?

And another Advent question: is it just me late to the party (as usual) or are you finding an increased interest in the celebration of Advent as a major focus of the holiday season? Until about four years ago, I don't ever remember hearing of such a thing. Do you think (as I do) that it's a reaction to the emptiness many people are coming to acknowledge that has overshadowed Christmas? Or have you always celebrated Advent?

Anyways, here's my one thing: I found this CD by City on a Hill several years ago and it's the first and only Christmas music I listen to until around December 15th, which is when I get around to decorating. Actually it was the artwork that first drew me to it, and the music, a selection of songs by Christian artists Sara Groves, Caedmon's Call and others, never fails to satisfy.
If you have an MP3 player, you could easily download these tunes from Amazon or iTunes. There will be plenty of time for the traditional holiday tunes and carols; I think you'd find this a heart-stirring and delightfully uplifting change of pace.


scotirish said...

I have read of many churches celebrating Christmas with Pageants that include an actual baby portraying the role of 'baby Jesus'. Our first child Ruth, was born December 12th, 1981 and was chosen to be 'baby Jesus' for our church's (Reba Place Fellowship) Christmas Eve service. Last year, our grandson, Charlie, born on Oct. 19th 2008, was chosen, also at Reba Place Fellowship. But in prison no such ritual exists. I wasn't even thinking about babies being in Christmas plays back in 1972. This was yet another year in prison the difference being this was my first Christmas as a christian. The Christmas service held new meaning for me as we sang the traditional Christmas Carols bringing with it a hope for a new life with a redeemed future. Christian volunteers were a part of our service at the U. S. Medical Center for Prisoners in Springfield, Mo. As our service wound to completion a cry was heard. The faint whimpering of a baby. My first thought was that I wasn't hearing what I thought I had heard. I had been in prison for many years and had never even seen a baby inside of a prison (not counting my infrequent times in the visiting room.) But there it was again, a baby crying. Someone, a volunteer, had brought their baby into the service wrapped in a blanket unnoticed by the guards. I then thought, there was our 'baby Jesus'. The parents of the yet unknown child were the children of an older couple (Lloyd and Nita Colbaugh) who had only a few years previously began their ministry to the prison. Even the great-grandmother (Mom Carter) was a volunteer and had played a significant role in my own conversion, telling me that God had a plan for my life. Life would go on and the incident of 'baby Jesus' coming to prison would fade to a memory, until the baby grew up and now is known throughout many countries far and wide as acclaimed singer/songwriter Sara Groves. I hope this story adds to your appreciation of the life of Sara and her family.John C Thomson

Katrina said...

I have a couple Advent devotionals/books and I try to pick one each year to go through, to try to get my focus off the gifts and the baking and the busyness, and on to the amazing miracle of Christ's birth. Music also helps -- my iPod has several different Christmas playlists, one for any mood I might be in. :)