This year, Advent officially begins on Sunday, November 29th. If you are like me, wrapping yourself in the swaddling clothes knit with the yarn of hope, peace, love, and joy of the season, can’t come soon enough.
For many years, I have added a daily reading to my morning devotions to enrich my journey through Advent. You may have your own.
For those of you looking to add a daily reading this Advent let me suggest the three I use on a kind of annual, rotating basis.
For many years I used Watch for the Light: Reading for Advent and Christmas. This is a collection of writings from many different authors. Some are quite brief. Others more like an authors short sermon. It is a wonderful resource that, at times, can take you to reflective places you might not otherwise visit.
A second wonderful resource is God Is In the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. You may recall that Bonhoeffer was a German pastor/scholar who actively resisted Hitler in the 1930s and early 1940s. He spent the last two years of his life in a German prison camp. A few weeks for before Germany fell to the Allies and the prison camp was liberated, Bonhoeffer was put to death for being part of an assassination plot against Hitler. Many of these meditations come from his time in prison. This is a marvelous resource that reminds us of the kind of world the baby Jesus was born into, and sadly, remains just as dark today. The light of Christ, it seems, has never been more needed that today.
A third resource comes from one of my favorite authors of today, Father Richard Rohr. It is entitled, Preparing for Christmas, Daily Meditations for Advent. Father Rohr is a Franciscan priest who founded the Center for Contemplation and Action in New Mexico.
All three of these resources are filled with serious meditations. You will not find these authors tickling the chin of the baby Jesus, coo-cooing him with drippingly sweet adorations. These are people who bear the scars of following Jesus in real life, who bear (or bore) the light of Christ in a world that would rather remain in the darkness, and who strive (or strived) to live an authentic life like Jesus modeled for us all. To be fair, along the way, each of these authors, in their own way, spent time tickling the chin of the baby Jesus and offered their adoring coo-coos, but they knew following Jesus was about a whole lot more.
Whether you choose one of these resource or have found one that speaks to you, let me suggest that use this time to develop a daily habit of spending time with God. Any collection of Advent meditations for each day is a great way to start.
Be a blessing to someone today.