"Behold, I am Making All Things New"

by Pastor Heath Howe, Family Ministries

"Advent is not a time to declare, but to listen, to listen to whatever God might want to tell us through the singing of the stars, the quickening of a baby, the gallantry of a dying man."
                                                                                                Madeleine L'Engle

I absolutely love this quote by Madeleine L'Engle. I return to every Advent. Reading it has become as much a part of my Advent and Christmas preparations as is the adorning of the tree and the lighting of the Advent wreath. Each year these words remind me to not make assumptions, especially when it comes to God. Advent is a time of preparation for sure. As we prepare our homes for Christmas Day, we are also preparing our hearts for the birth of our Lord within us, our community, and our larger world. This quote, however, reminds us that Advent calls us to listen. Listen. Listen. We cannot truly listen if our minds and hearts are full of assumptions. Assumptions about what the season is about, what God is about, or how we are to behave in order to please God. Even if our assumptions seem nice and well packaged, Advent invites us to offer them up so that we can really hear what God might be saying to us. If we stay curious our assumptions can drop away and we are able to experience the gifts of the season of Advent and the season of Christmas in a new way this year.

For some of us clearing assumptions and listening can happen as we walk by the lake, when we close our eyes to pray, as we listen to music, or as we take Holy Communion. For some of us poems, prayers, or various tools are helpful when we are learning to listen. The following links are tools I use regularly in my Advent listening practice. One is a booklet designed to be used with an Advent wreath. Another is a link to Society of Saint John the Evangelist's daily messages. A third is a link to theologian Richard Rohr's daily mediations. The last link from Vibrant Faith Ministries provides activities for families to do at home.

Advent is a gift to us. Use these tools or others you have found to feed your soul and open your heart to really listen. You never know what you might hear. After all,
                                        "Behold, I am making all things new..."
                                                                                          Revelations 21:5

Advent blessings, Pastor Heath

Useful Advent Links:
icon Advent Booklet
http://ssje.org/adventword
https://cac.org/richard-rohr/daily-meditations
http://www.vibrantfaithathome.org/