Make Room

We’re in the beginning days of Advent. It is here – this season of waiting and hoping and remembering. However we come into it, we are welcome to come just as we are. Somber, anxious, joyful or doubtful. Anticipating the coming weeks, or dreading them.

However we come, we are invited to make room in our hearts – even the slightest space is enough. The tiniest piece of awe. A speck of hope. A flake of faith. These will make enough room. When we’re uncertain we have even a speck – we can say, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

If you’re unfamiliar with Advent, click one of the links to read what I’ve learned about it over the years. The Perfect Gift and While We Wait and Love Came Down are a few I’ve shared. The resources I offer this year are a mix of new ones and previously shared ones. They’re all wonderfully meaningful in their own way. Find those which connect you most with God and might stir you heart to make a little room.

The poem below reminds me of the ordinary way in which God came down to be with us. By ordinary, I mean that he was born in the regular human way in which we all were. “God had taken place…” on a silent night without much fanfare, but with “the door open, for those who came to find.”

NATIVITY

When the miracle happened it was not
with bright light or fire—
but a farm door with the thick smell of sheep
and a wind tugging at the shutters.

There was no sign the world had changed for ever
or that God had taken place;
just a child crying softly in a corner,
and the door open, for those who came to find.

by Kenneth Steven 

Something Old

I’ve followed this Advent resource for years and enjoy the combination of written, visual, and musical arts with Scripture in this creative daily devotional series. Each day readers are led into a time of thoughtful reflection. It’s called Biola University’s CCCA 2023 Advent Project.

Another familiar resource is an Advent music list that I’ve curated over the years called My Advent. I look forward to this music every year. Most of these songs will be new to listeners. A blessing awaits as these songs help make room in our hearts.

The Rabbit Room has an Advent Journal available again this year. In collaboration with Dwell Differently this 4-week journal will help remind us of the constant presence of God. Sign up for it here.

Something New

One new resource I offer is the 2023 Advent Calendar from The VCS (The Visual Commentary on Scripture). This is a description of The VCS from their website:

The Visual Commentary on Scripture is a freely accessible online publication that provides theological commentary on the Bible in dialogue with works of art. It helps its users to (re)discover the Bible in new ways through the illuminating interaction of artworks, scriptural texts, and commissioned commentaries.

The VCS combines three academic disciplines: theology, art history, and biblical scholarship. While the project’s main commitment is to theology, it is responsibly informed by the latter two disciplines.

The theme for the 2023 Advent Calendar is light. A link to an audio commentary and a high-resolution image is emailed daily through the days of Advent. For more information visit the website here.

I’ve followed Malcom Guite for years but his Advent posts are especially provocative. He writes poetry and includes the readings of his poems in the posts. These are another wonderful way to engage with the Bible and the Nativity story in a new way.

May the hope of Christ shine light into the darkness. I hope these resources serve to bring us a heightened awareness of the ever present with-ness of God.

During this Advent season, may we see the God who’d taken place in a truer way.

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