Advent Devotionals: Monday, November 30

FIRST MONDAY OF ADVENT: November 30
WELCOME TO OUR ADVENT PILGRIMAGE!
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"He came with love to Bethlehem;
He comes with grace into our souls;
He will come with justice at the end of the world."
Father Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdelene
Isaiah 9:2-7, John 1:1-4

We are so happy you decided to join us on this journey to Bethlehem. It is shaping up to be a trek into unknown territory as well as revisiting some familiar places. But the goal is to deepen our roots, expand our understanding of Jesus, hopefully enter into some new practices and exploring different areas of our faith.
Just to give you a sense of what to expect along the way, here is a bit of a road map. In our pilgrimage, we intend to visit four important Advent Landmarks along the way - Love, Hope, Peace and Joy, completing the journey with Light when we arrive in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. Each day throughout Advent, we will walk through reflection questions, and suggested contemplative practices that highlight these landmarks or themes.
Within each landmark, there will be a movement of sorts or perhaps an unpacking. I don’t know about you, but I always tend to overpack when I travel. I rarely use everything in my suitcase. In fact, it’s often only a very small amount of items that I end up needing so I carry around a lot of unnecessary baggage. I think we do that in life as well - spiritually and emotionally as well as other areas. Perhaps it’s time to travel lighter. What do you think?
2020 has been a year full of disruption. So many plans were canceled and we have collectively experienced so much loss. In its wake, COVID-19 has brought many underlying issues to the surface. Interestingly, the Advent season has traditionally been a season of watching and waiting. It is known as a season of longing and even lament as we symbolically wait with quiet anticipation for the Messiah to come.
Doesn’t it feel like we have been watching and waiting all year long? Haven't we been longing for something to shift and we are waiting for a breakthrough of some sort? This has been the nature of 2020. It seems fitting that as we enter the season of Advent, there is an opportunity to continue on in our watching and waiting but not as a passive bystander. Advent pushes us to move toward our pain, naming it and working through it believing that God will deliver us.
It is the difference between traveling the journey as a tourist or a pilgrim.
A tourist is interested in satisfying the senses and consuming the sacred. A pilgrim is in the quest of truth. Every move a pilgrim makes is with sacredness and gratitude. A tourist is often preoccupied and unaware. A tourist has a sense of entitlement and desires the very best money can offer. For a pilgrim,
humility is at the core with a willingness to endure hardship in order experience the transformation awaiting them at their destination.
As pilgrims moving through the landmarks of Advent, we are invited into a larger Story, a Story which needs to be told and re-told to remind ourselves that we follow a Saviour who sees our despair, anxiety and grief and is compelled by love to offer us hope, peace and joy in the midst of it.

Here is the invitation from Jesus to travel lightly...
REFLECTION:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me.
Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.
I’ll show you how to take a real rest.
Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11-28-30 (The Message)
  • 1)  Would you describe yourself as a tourist or a pilgrim? Are you willing to engage in some practices throughout Advent that will enrich your pilgrimage experience?
  • 2)  What is most likely to get in the way of setting aside time daily to sit with the Lord? How will you overcome this obstacle?
  • 3)  Which Advent landmark and its movement are you most drawn to? (Love over Hate, From despair to hope, from anxiety to peace, from grief to joy) Why?
PRACTICES:
  • 1)  Morning Prayers of praise and gratitude. (Suggestion: Write out your prayers)
  • 2)  Evening Prayers - Examen
  • 3)  Scripture Reading (at the top of the Daily Devotion) 
 - Pastor Deb

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