Thursday, December 20, 2012

Evening Advent Wreath: Various Approaches

We are most of the way through Advent, and I'm happy to report that my laid back approach to the evening devotional time seems to be working.  Early on, I decided to accept that I wouldn't be able to light the candles on the Advent wreath each and every night.  My goal was to return to the Advent wreath a few nights each week. 

And it's worked.  Usually we've lit the candles, read a Bible passage, and prayed.  This week we've had some variations.

On Tuesday night, we collapsed on the sofa to watch T.V.  I thought this might be a non-devotional night, but then A Charlie Brown Christmas started, which was a surprise, a happy one.  When Linus recited Luke 2:  8-14, I realized we couldn't have had a much better devotional time, although we didn't get the candles lit on the wreath.

I was surprised to realize that I could recite that passage, as could my husband.  That shouldn't surprise me; after all, we're in our late 40's, so that's a lot of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services where we've heard the passage.  Plus, I remember having to memorize it, in all its King James glory, at various times in my childhood. 

In short, it was a real treat--such a treat that we turned the T.V. off right after the show and went off to an early bedtime.  I haven't had such a satisfying sleep in a long time.

Last night, I wanted to make sure we lit the candles.  Time is running out for our Advent practice, after all.  So, I lit the candles and chose a passage from John, where the authorities ask John who he is, and he insists, "I am not the Messiah."  He predicts the coming of Christ, whose sandals he is not worthy to lace.

My spouse had been practicing Christmas music on the violin.  As I read each sentence, I paused, and my spouse played a scrap of violin music that he improvised.  The improvisation matched the tone of the sentence.  It made me pause to consider the words.  And it felt like a very artsy kind of approach.

We've so much enjoyed having the Advent wreath compel us to evening devotions that we plan to experiment with keeping it.  Granted, we'll need to take the evergreens off.  We have pledged to keep the wreath liturgical:  no Valentines wreath, no shamrocks.  And of course, I'll document and make periodic reports here.

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