This Sunday we will mark the beginning of Advent, the time of preparation for the impending celebration of Christmas. As we continue to navigate our way through this time of Covid, we might have fewer parties or gatherings to attend this season. It might be an opportunity to embrace a quieter Advent, a more introspective and spiritual season. Putting together an Advent Wreath for your home might particularly help you to reorient your focus, or you can even simply light a candle in the evening and say a prayer or two.
You can find a lovely service you can do at home, An Order of Worship for the Evening, on pp. 109-112 of the Book of Common Prayer. For the lesson, you could use these particularly appropriate Advent readings:
Week of 1 Advent: Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour. (Matthew 24:42-44)
Week of 2 Advent: The word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’” (Luke 3:2b-6)
Week of 3 Advent: As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Luke 3:15-16)
Week of 4 Advent: In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. (Luke 1:39-42)
However you mark the season, I pray that you will find many spiritual gifts. To close, I offer the traditional Advent blessing: May the Sun of Righteousness shine upon you, and scatter the darkness before your path, and may God’s blessing be with you always!