The Gift of Advent

I’ve loved Advent as long as I can remember. And running across this photo of me, face to face with the Nativity set let me see the gift my parents gave me as a young child.

My memories are of our family lighting the Advent wreath together every Sunday. Each child yearned to be old enough to light the candle. Once you could read, there was the Bible passage or that week’s meditation from the Advent booklet. I didn’t love accompanying the family’s Advent hymn on the piano. 😉

When The Upper Room invited me to write a book for the Advent season, I was thrilled. It called back all those memories of the Advent wreath, the candles, the little book, the awkward hymn playing and the singing.

And I am grateful for this gift.

God, open our hearts and the hearts of the world to your hope. Peel back the layers of our stubborn opinions, our fearful assumptions, and let the light of your life-giving spirit enter in. Amen.

The Uncluttered Heart

Advent Hope

I’m sitting here reading about the world’s latest craziness. (What is going to happen next?!?) And I’m wondering where those the nice Advent feelings are that I used to be able locate inside myself. “Maybe, this year, there will be peace.” “Oh, look, there are the signs of hope (or joy, or love).” Right now, I’m not feeling very hopeful.

I remembered something I’d written about hope in The Uncluttered Heart and share it here:

Hope isn’t a simple, sweet sentiment or an unreachable goal. Hope’s a bit risky — it’s not based on and doesn’t rely on some kind of secret-handshake promise from God. Our hoping does not mean that everything will turn out the way we want it to.

Hope is, instead, a spiritual practice, appropriate any time but especially during the season of Advent. We wait and hope for the coming of Christ into the world. We hope even when it doesn’t feel like it’s going to make a difference. We hope because we are children of God, children of hope. …

When we hope, we align ourselves more closely with the God of the Universe — the eternal force of good, of hope and love and peace.

Carry these words in your heart today: I am God’s partner in hope.

From The Uncluttered Heart by Beth A. Richardson. Copyright © 2009 by The Upper Room. Used with Permission.

Last Night I Dreamed of Jack

trees

Last night I dreamed of Jack.
He was lost, but I knew he had
Crossed the road
And gone into the woods.

I walked into the forest
And climbed to the top of a pine tree.
There was a nest there,
Rocking like a cradle
In the gentle breeze.

The trees showed me the nest
And told me he was safe,
Gently rocked,
Held close.

When I got back to the ground
I could see, far off,
a circle of dancing women.
White flowing dresses,
Radiant warm light bathing them from above,
Their arms swayed in the air
Like a nest rocking
On a gentle breeze
In the top of a pine tree.

I woke up
And felt
At peace.

Uncluttered Heart – Links to Daily Posts

For those of you looking for The Uncluttered Heart … The emails and texts are no longer available. But the content is here — though you will find the dates are wrong. Blessings on your Advent season! – Beth P.S. The book is available in print, EPub, and Kindle formats.

Week One of Advent
First Sunday of Advent – December 2, 2018 – Read reflection.
Monday, Advent Week One – December 3, 2018 – Read reflection.
Tuesday, Advent Week One – December 4, 2018 – Read reflection.
Wednesday, Advent Week One – December 5, 2018 – Read reflection.
Thursday, Advent Week One – December 6, 2018 – Read reflection.
Friday, Advent Week One – December 7, 2018 – Read reflection.
Saturday, Advent Week One – December 8, 2018 – Read reflection.

Week Two of Advent
Sunday, Advent Week Two – December 9, 2018 – Read reflection.
Monday, Advent Week Two – December 10, 2018 – Read reflection.
Tuesday, Advent Week Two – December 11, 2018 – Read reflection.
Wednesday, Advent Week Two – December 12, 2018 – Read reflection.
Thursday, Advent Week Two – December 13, 2018 – Read reflection.
Friday, Advent Week Two – December 14, 2018 – Read reflection.
Saturday, Advent Week Two – December 15, 2018 – Read reflection.

Week Three of Advent
Sunday, Advent Week Three – December 16, 2018 – Read reflection.
Monday, Advent Week Three – December 17, 2018 – Read reflection.
Tuesday, Advent Week Three – December 18, 2018 – Read reflection.
Wednesday, Advent Week Three – December 19, 2018 – Read reflection.
Thursday, Advent Week Three – December 20, 2018 – Read reflection.
Friday, Advent Week Three – December 21, 2018 – Read reflection.
Saturday, Advent Week Three – December 22, 2018 – Read reflection.

Week Four of Advent
Sunday, Advent Week Four – December 23, 2018 – Read reflection.
Monday, Christmas Eve – December 24, 2018 – Read reflection.
Tuesday, Christmas Day – December 25, 2018 – Read reflection.

Wednesday, Christmas 2 – December 26, 2018 – Read reflection.
Thursday, Christmas 3 – December 27, 2018 – Read reflection.
Friday, Christmas 4 – December 28, 2018 – Read reflection.
Saturday, Christmas 5 – December 29, 2018 – Read reflection.
Sunday, Christmas 6 – December 30, 2018 – Read reflection.
Monday, Christmas 7 – December 31, 2018 – Read reflection.
Tuesday, Christmas 8 – January 1, 2019 – Read reflection.
Wednesday, Christmas 9 – January 2, 2019 – Read reflection.
Thursday, Christmas 10 – January 3, 2019 – Read reflection.
Friday, Christmas 11 – January 4, 2019 – Read reflection.
Saturday, Christmas 12 – January 5, 2019 – Read reflection.