3 Possible Advents, 3 Prayers

It is the second Sunday of Advent, and we light the “Bethlehem Candle” of faith today, or the candle of “preparation.” Advent is really all about preparing to give birth to, and sustain, new life – to allow the Holy Spirit to do a new work in our hearts and our walk with the Lord. That is why the rhythm of the Church doesn’t start with Christmas. Our hearts cannot welcome the birth of Christ without preparation. Part of that preparation is a realization of the long groaning of all of creation throughout the centuries of salvation history.

But another important part of Advent is to recognize what Christ still means to fulfill in our individual lives. We are still waiting for the complete fulfillment of the promise of that covenant relationship made so long ago to make all things new and for our Father to fully restore us to himself. The Advent of our King was not a one-time event. It is a once-for-all-time event. Which means that his coming in our lives – and the new life he births in us because of his birth – is reoccurring – daily, weekly, monthly, yearly.

So the question that I have for you in the middle of your Advent season is this: What is it that Christ wants to give birth to in your life this Advent? What is he preparing you for, and how is he preparing you to walk more closely with him?

I want to use a pregnancy analogy (since I’m currently 34 weeks pregnant), to help describe three possible seasons of Advent that may be happening in your heart right now. Think first of the woman whose pregnancy and expectation of a new life is filled with nothing but joy. Everything about it is wonderful and exciting. My first pregnancy was like this. It’s a happy time…not without its overwhelming moments of how life will change…but you are preparing for this new birth with a welcoming joy.

In the spiritual life, these are the easiest and best Advent seasons, aren’t they? Preparing for what God is about to do, for the unique way that he appears to be coming in your life, is full of joy. During this time God may be giving birth to lots of exciting new things and wonderful insights. It might be a time of blessing, and you are probably being called to bless others through that blessing. This may be a time when you are experiencing a lot of spiritual consolations too. These are good times in the spiritual life. But these are not always the only seasons of Advent that God has for us. Continue reading “3 Possible Advents, 3 Prayers”

Prayer in Your Domestic Church

 

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Philipp Schumacher [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
A thriving domestic church — your family home and life of faith — is central to the faith formation of you, your spouse, and your children. One of the most important elements of family faith life is prayer. Family prayer time is the space where everyone in the home learns how to enter into the prayers of the whole church, and through this family ritual little children are exposed to “the Church’s living memory” (CCC 2685).

Perhaps prayer time has not been part of your family life; it’s never to late to start. You may be a young family with little ones, and you want to establish a growing family prayer routine. Or, you may be a family with older children who aren’t used to corporate prayer. As with various spiritual disciplines of the domestic church, many people are a bit overwhelmed about where to begin. It is easy to look at all the possible expressions of family prayer time and do one of two things: give up completely or try to do everythingContinue reading “Prayer in Your Domestic Church”

The Enemy of the Good

fir0002 | flagstaffotos.com.au [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
fir0002 | flagstaffotos.com.au [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
We just started homeschooling this year, as our oldest has started Kindergarten. So I have spent the summer reading various books on education philosophies. A great book that I just finished reading is Susan Schaeffer Macaulay’s For the Children’s Sake, which is basically a summary and modern-day application of Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education and teaching principles. Mason believed that a child’s mind should be respected and filled with only the best source material; and she advocated, among other things, reading aloud “living books” filled with “story” and letting children discover and connect first-hand with nature. Macaulay makes a most compelling case for Mason’s ideals in education — at home or in a school. But at various points, Macaulay notes the skeptic’s response, and that some may find such an approach to education too idealistic or impractical in our current society. She doesn’t think it is unattainable for the average person to give children this kind of education, but she concedes that we are imperfect people in imperfect circumstances. Toward the end of the book, she gives beautifully true advice: “If you can’t give them everything, give them something.” Continue reading “The Enemy of the Good”