This is really exciting for me because Advent is one of my favorite seasons. I love the intentional way that we prepare for Jesus' birth. I love the return to praying and striving for the kingdom of God. I love the way our worship builds up toward the celebrations on Christmas Eve. And this year I have extra time to get ready for this, my favorite time of year. This week I have an opportunity to take a deep breath before the plunge into the season.
The extra time has allowed me to get my heart in order. This year has been busy and full of transitions, and amid all of the activity I've slipped a bit in my spiritual disciplines. So this year I've decided to really rededicate myself to spiritual growth during Advent. And I'm going to use this blog to do it.
In years past I've utilized this blog to observe Advent in a variety of ways. In 2009, my first year as a full-time pastor, I posted a picture each day of Advent to remind myself of the joy of the season in the midst of all of the busyness. In 2010, I wrote a brief reflection each day. In 2011 I forgot my blog completely in my focus on ordination papers. But this year I'm back, and with a new plan.
Beginning on the first Sunday of Advent, December 2, 2012, I'm joining with my congregation in engaging daily readings for the season. My lead pastor put together a compilation of daily Scriptures for every day of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. I'm going to read those texts each day and write a prayer based upon those passages. I hope to post the prayers here, along with the text citations. As much as I'd like to say this is my Advent gift to you, it isn't. This is not an altruistic gesture. This is accountability. I hope that, by posting the prayers here, I'll have a measure of accountability to make sure that I read the texts and pray over them deeply. And I hope you'll pray for me, and with me, as I refocus on what's really important in this season: getting ready for the Emmanuel to arrive.