Today is the morning of our first real snow here in Michigan. The cats came rushing in the house when I let the dog out, paws wet and noses cold. I dug out a stocking cap and winter boots for the girl. My husband fought the traffic all the way in to work. Here I sit warm under a blanket, looking out the window, even now ready for them to be back home safe. Early evening is coming.
We're given this built-in longing for something. Lots of things. In a month or two, I'll be longing for summer (never mind Michigan springs save the pretty daffodils, redbuds and tulips). My daughter is already longing for a snow day. For some time now, I've been longing for more of Jesus. It has captured my thoughts and mind. Churches and scholars and spiritual practices and ordinary people-everywhere I look Jesus is revealing himself to me and I'm thankful.
I've collected a number of prayer books. They are entirely new to me. Maybe that's why they bring me to tears. All of these discoveries that point to a Savior too big for my box. A Holy Spirit breathing the life of God into dry bones, my own.
A friend asked me, "When you pray these formal prayers, are you still praying personal prayers too?"
It left me a little sad for her. Where have we learned this hesitant fear? It encouraged me to keep talking about this journey I am on. These prayers are my first breath that gets my spiritual heart beating. The conversations I have with God throughout my day are made all the more intimate when I join the saints in praying first thing in the morning.
In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus.
We sang this song in church yesterday. It's everything. In a few short weeks the church will turn to Advent. A new year upon us. New things to long for. Evangelicals, you're invited. Low church brothers and sisters of mine. Join us in this time of remembering (oh church, feast on that word)...
Jesus came to earth swaddled as a baby. He will come again clothed in glory.
For me, Advent means an additional spiritual practice or two. It started with my daughter at three (children are good motivators) when we read would the Christmas story day by day and open the doors of her Advent tree. It expanded to include my husband when he made me an advent "wreath" that is a round piece of wood with holes drilled in it for candles. On Sunday nights, we read together, sing a carol, say a prayer. I've found a number of Advent devotionals that take me on the journey that always ends (or begins) here.
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.
The church guides my seasons now. I'll prepare for Christmas morning weeks ahead of time. Here are some books I'd recommend:
All Creation Waits (by Gayle Boss)
Unwrapping the Names of Jesus (by Asheritah Ciuciu)
Exodus to Advent (by Esther Baird)
God is in the Manger (writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
All the Generations (a Blessed Is She collection)
This Spotify playlist compiled by Ellie Holcomb does include some Christmas tunes but a beautiful collection regardless.
Blessed advent to you.