Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Simplifying My Advent Discipline

On Sunday, we had our annual Advent wreath making at our church.  What fun! 

Our pastor did the hard work of getting all the pine bough castaways and cuttings.  He went to Home Depot and several other places that sell trees.  They're happy to load up his car, because that's less they'll have to pay to have someone cart it away.  We'll cart it away for free.

As we were creating, we vowed that we would actually use them this year.  I was relieved to find out that I'm not the only one who sets out the Advent wreath and doesn't actually ever use it.

I had an epiphany as we created.  Maybe I'm trying to do too much.  For example, this year, I had thought about adding devotions to my schedule and meditation and prayer.  On Sunday, I thought, what if I plan to simply light the candles and say a prayer?

That's a less intimidating prospect, to be honest.  Surely I can find time a few times a week to light the candles and pray a sentence or two.  If I have time to do more, great.  But I want to do that minimal amount.

Hopefully on the 4th Sunday of Advent, I'll post a picture of my Advent wreath, and the candles will be burned down, thus signifying my keeping of my pledge/hope.

I'm off to a good start.  Last night, my husband and I lit the candles and said a prayer.  I'm fairly sure I wouldn't have done it if I had planned to read a devotion.  But a few minutes with a lit candle at the end of the day?  We can do it!

In case you'd like to adopt a similarly simple pledge, here are some prayers that we'll be using during our Worship Together service.

"Blessed are you, O Lord our God, ruler of the universe.  You call all nations to walk in your light and to seek your ways of justice and peace, for the night is past, and the dawn of your coming is near."

"Bless us as we light the candle(s) of this wreath.  Rouse us from sleep, that we may be ready to greet our Lord when he comes and welcome him into our hearts and homes, for he is our light and our salvation.  Blessed be God forever.  Amen."

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