Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The gift of the advantageous Advent



There was a time not long ago, that I faced living with a serious shift in my status quo of life. In a moment all of my norms changed. Where I lived, who I spent time with, and who I worked with all changed in the blink of an eye. With all of this change swirling around me, I had two choices:

1. to fight the change with every ounce of energy I had...
or
2. embrace the change as an exciting adventure.

After trying out option one for a few weeks and only feeling more frustrated, anxious, and exhausted; I reluctantly tried out option two and began living into my changed life with a sense of excitement. Where there had been resistance and negativity, this new sense of adventure and hope began to take root and for that time of "all things changed" - became a time of adventure that I treasure.
What is Advent all about?
As the season of Advent is almost upon us, I’m struck by the opportunity it brings for reflection on the themes of: hope, joy, peace and love. Traditions for Advent that we are most familiar with are chocolate Advent calendars, weekly candle lighting and possibly a celebration on January 6th (Three Kings Day) at its conclusion; but this year might be a good time to consider new ways of taking advantage of this time for prayer, reflection, and building up community connections.
How could we work together to create and advantageous advent season?
In this season of Advent, we walk into a time of waiting for Jesus. We look through the lenses of: hope, peace, joy and love. We ponder these things in order to become more aware of the places God shows up in our daily lives. In Advent, we take part in a devotion time or prayer practice that helps us fill our time as we wait for Jesus. I love the sensibility of restfulness that Advent call us to, but I long for something exciting to capture my heart and mind in the season to come. I often live life too fast to take time for this kind of spiritual reflection, this kind of waiting; but I wonder what would happen if we injected a sense of adventure into our Advent waiting? What if we enter into Advent like Mary and Joseph, like the shepherds in the fields, and even like the wise men that adventured as they waited for the Christ child to be born.
In the Advent that awaits us, there is and need for time to reflect upon the themes: hope, joy, peace, and love; but there also is room for adventuring. In this Advent before us, I think is is BOTH a time of waiting AND adventure.
This Advent, we have an opportunity to spend 40 days actively waiting for Jesus by taking note of all the places God shows up as well as where we are being called to love and serve our neighbors for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. What if, this Advent, we embarked on an adventure where noticing love, hope, joy and peace were just the beginning of a advantageous Advent.

How can I participate in an advantageous Advent?

On November 27th, the season of Advent began and now I invite you to join me each day of Advent by taking time to mark this season of active waiting. Advent active waiting could look like:
1. Writing daily in a journal.
2. Posting thanks for moments of hope, joy, love and peace on social media.
3. Drawing daily in a sketch book.
4. Finding hands on ways to helping a new person each day of Advent.
5. Committing to a time of daily scripture reading and prayer.

Only you can determine what this 40 day Advent adventure will look like, but I hope that you will embrace this opportunity for adventure as we wait for Christmas and join me in taking part in an Advantageous Advent inspired by Christ's call to the adventure of loving God and people. ("Follow me...and I will make you fishers for people.") If you decide to take part in this 40 day adventure by way of social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), please use the hashtag #advantageousadvent so that more people can locate your posts and participate in the fun.

A new way Tree of Life will take part in #adventageousadvent…

As a way to help you get started in taking part of an advantageous Advent, Tree of Life will be posting daily reflections, prayers, art and songs on our Facebook page to give a road map for the next 40 days. But in order to make this an interactive experience, you are invited to help build this interactive devotion. At the back of our worship space, you will find a poster board titled Advantageous Advent that will have 40 post-it’s on it. Each post-it will have an idea or scripture reference for that day in Advent and you are invited to choose a day to create a reflection for our online project. Daily #adventageousadvent posts will appear on the Tree of Life Facebook page starting on November 27 and ending on January 6th. If you plan to participate in this 40 day devotion project, please email Pastor Tara your contributions at least 5 days before the date you have chosen from the board.

The refection you create for the day could be a poem, a prayer, a drawing, or a short devotion written or focused on the theme of each day. Use your creativity and encourage the children in your life to help you with your submission. With your help, Tree of Life will be able to create a encouraging message of hope, joy, peace and love that hundreds of people can read and reflect upon throughout the Advent season.

Let’s adventure together this Advent season by celebrating a #adventageousadvent in sharing God’s message of  hope, joy, peace and love.


For questions or to submit your #adventageousadvent reflection for the Tree of Life Facebook page, please email me at: taralamonteastman@gmail.com







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