Praying on Behalf the World

Nine of us gathered this morning in The Upper Room Chapel to pray with and on behalf of the world. Two guests from Colorado joined us. We sang, prayed, and lit the first candle of Advent, the candle of peace.

Our candle lighting prayer by Steve Garnaas-Holmes:

Loving God, you are our peace;
prepare our hearts for your coming.
Forge the swords of bitterness into plows of blessing;
till the soil of our souls for your springing forth in us.
Remove our heart’s defensive armor,
clothe us in light alone,
and pierce our wide-open hearts with your love.
By your Spirit in us, may we be at peace:
awake, and ready to welcome your presence.
Amen.

Join me in an online course this Advent. Child of the Light: Walking Through Advent and Christmas.

Getting Ready for Advent

burning candles

Advent’s arriving on Sunday! It’s time to dig out the Advent wreath. (Now, where did I pack that? I’m hoping that I’ve still got a box of unlit candles.)

This year, I’m looking forward to an online course using my first Advent book, Child of the Light: Walking through Christmas and Advent.

“We all need this time of Advent to slow us down, to open our ears to God’s quiet voice, to guide us through the chaos of the consumerist culture that Christmas has become.” Child of the Light provides tools to help you find your quiet center. Our eCourse invites you to find that quiet center with friends old and new. Enter with Beth into readings and reflections inspired by the season’s carols and hymns. Your spirit will be lifted and your mind quieted. The experience extends past Christmas to Epiphany, encouraging you to live into the joy of Christmas beyond seasonal celebrations.

I hope you’ll consider joining us in Child of the Light.

For Lovers of Weavings Journal

I’m excited about two recently released books with connections to Weavings.

The Upper Room Disciplines 2020, a lectionary-based daily devotional, features 53 writers who were contributors to Weavings: A Journal of the Christian Spiritual Life. I’m honored to be one of them, writing the meditations for the week of October 12–18, 2020. Marjorie J. Thompson writes the foreword for the book. The 53 authors include many friends and beloved writers, among them: Kathleen Flood, Luther Smith, J. Barrie Shepherd, Wendy Wright, Roberta Bondi, Michael Downey, Rachel Hackenberg, Don Saliers, Jan Johnson, Kristen Vincent, Gerrit Dawson, Marilyn McEntyre, Mark Burrows, Deborah Smith Douglas, and Kara Lassen Oliver. Available now at your favorite bookseller.

The Wondrous Mystery: An Upper Room Advent Reader. This daily Advent reader incorporates articles from Weavings. Writers include Barbara Brown Taylor, Henri J. M. Nouwen, Sue Monk Kidd, Wendell Berry, Wendy M. Wright, and other writers. Now available.

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

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 1, 2019 – Read reflection.
Monday, Advent Week One – December 2, 2019 – Read reflection.
Tuesday, Advent Week One – December 3, 2019 – Read reflection.
Wednesday, Advent Week One – December 4, 2019 – Read reflection.
Thursday, Advent Week One – December 5, 2019 – Read reflection.
Friday, Advent Week One – December 6, 2019 – Read reflection.
Saturday, Advent Week One – December 7, 2019 – Read reflection.

Week Two of Advent
Sunday, Advent Week Two – December 8, 2019 – Read reflection.
Monday, Advent Week Two – December 9, 2019 – Read reflection.
Tuesday, Advent Week Two – December 10, 2019 – Read reflection.
Wednesday, Advent Week Two – December 11, 2019 – Read reflection.
Thursday, Advent Week Two – December 12, 2019 – Read reflection.
Friday, Advent Week Two – December 13, 2019 – Read reflection.
Saturday, Advent Week Two – December 14, 2019 – Read reflection.

Week Three of Advent
Sunday, Advent Week Three – December 15, 2019 – Read reflection.
Monday, Advent Week Three – December 16, 2019 – Read reflection.
Tuesday, Advent Week Three – December 17, 2019 – Read reflection.
Wednesday, Advent Week Three – December 18, 2019 – Read reflection.
Thursday, Advent Week Three – December 19, 2019 – Read reflection.
Friday, Advent Week Three – December 20, 2019 – Read reflection.
Saturday, Advent Week Three – December 21, 2019 – Read reflection.

Week Four of Advent
Sunday, Advent Week Four – December 22, 2019 – Read reflection.
Monday, Advent Week Four – December 23, 2019 – Read reflection.
Monday, Christmas Eve – December 24, 2019 – Read reflection.
Tuesday, Christmas Day – December 25, 2019 – Read reflection.

Wednesday, Christmas 2 – December 26, 2019 – Read reflection.
Thursday, Christmas 3 – December 27, 2019 – Read reflection.
Friday, Christmas 4 – December 28, 2019 – Read reflection.
Saturday, Christmas 5 – December 29, 2019 – Read reflection.
Sunday, Christmas 6 – December 30, 2019 – Read reflection.
Monday, Christmas 7 – December 31, 2019 – Read reflection.
Tuesday, Christmas 8 – January 1, 2020 – Read reflection.
Wednesday, Christmas 9 – January 2, 2020 – Read reflection.
Thursday, Christmas 10 – January 3, 2020 – Read reflection.
Friday, Christmas 11 – January 4, 2020 – Read reflection.
Saturday, Christmas 12 – January 5, 2020 – Read reflection.

Our Strength, Our Hope

Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art.
-Charles Wesley
“Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus”

Jesus, Child of God, you are our strength, our hope, our comfort, and our consolation. You are, indeed, the hope of the world. Send your strength and healing to every broken place, every despondent heart.

From Child of the Light by Beth A. Richardson. © 2005 by the author. Published by Upper Room Books.

Photo: St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland.