Happy New Year! Blessings on this first day of Advent, the first day of our church year.
I love that the church calendar begins before the civil calendar. It puts the idea of “New Year’s resolutions” in a whole new light: whatever we pledge to do, let it be grounded in the name of Jesus, whose birth we are preparing to celebrate. Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” This is our time to prepare our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls for the arrival of the Christ child, the Savior of the world, the Prince of Peace. If he is our focus, then whatever we set as our intention for this new year will have the power to transform our entire lives and the world around us.
As I wrote earlier this month, I had the pleasure of writing the Advent Litany for the current issue of The Upper Room. I really enjoyed crafting the Litany because I wanted to offer a way to step out of the hectic pace of our lives and be still. In learning to “be” we can prepare our hearts to receive the good news of Jesus’s birth and live out his message of peace.
I invite you to pray the Litany for this first week of Advent. I wrote it with prayer beads in mind, so if you have a set, I have provided instructions below for how to incorporate it. Otherwise, you can use candles or something else that helps you focus. No matter how you pray the Litany, I hope you can begin to slow down and develop a deeper connection with God, one that will sustain you throughout the year. This is where it begins.
(The portion below is reprinted with permission from The Upper Room)
Advent Worship Litanies 2014
During Advent we are invited to open ourselves to God’s loving Spirit. One of the best ways to do this is by being still. While our world maintains a hectic pace at this time of year, we have an opportunity to quiet our bodies, minds, and spirits, helping us to prepare for God’s glorious gift of love on Christmas day.
Note: There are many ways to be still, including the use of prayer beads. If you have a set of prayer beads, I encourage you to use them with this Advent Litany. The words to Say can be used with the cruciform beads, while you can use your week beads to Consider how the litany applies to your life. (Alternative directions: Use each bead to consider how the litany applies to your life.)
FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Light one purple candle.
Read: Psalm 37:1-7, Mark 4:35-39
Reflect: It is a challenge to be still in this day and time. We have many demands on our time. This is particularly true during the season of Advent. It is no wonder we feel distracted, depleted, and even disconnected from God. Yet Advent is the perfect opportunity to be still and listen for that still, small voice that is God, calling us to prepare for the coming of our Savior.
Say: In this season of Advent we will seek opportunities to be still and listen to God.
Consider: How, when, and where can you be still and listen to God this Advent?
Pray: Creator God, in the midst of our noisy lives, help us to listen for your voice so that we may hear your words of love for us. Amen.