Reinventing Advent

Friday, December 6

12-6By Carol Norris Vincent of Independence, Missouri

Therefore my people shall know my name; therefore on that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here am I.

—Isaiah 52:6

My husband died a week before Christmas. This changed forever the way I observe the holy day. As we approached that Advent season in 2004, we knew my husband’s death would come soon. His acceptance of his illness and eventual death witnessed deeply to many as he waited expectantly for his new life in God’s presence. The Advent season celebrates the joy of Christ’s birth. In that one season, I was anticipating both birth and re-birth— of my Lord and of my husband. I now look at Christmas differently.

The days following my husband’s death were surprisingly peaceful, yet the traditional celebration activities of Christmas changed. I felt a different kind of joy. Because I was not yet ready to mingle with friends at my large Methodist church—and receive all the hugs and murmurs of sympathy—I went to a service at another church. The quiet, peace, and reflection I found there calmed my soul. I limited Christmas decorations at home to a small crèche. We omitted gift-giving. Everyone respected this change in my life.

I have celebrated it in this quiet, reflective way since. My family and friends know that I was changed in that Advent season, and I feel I am a better person for it. My joy in the gift of God’s son to us is more complete, more focused, more serene. I know that God speaks—here am I!

Prayer for Peace
Generous God, may we feel your presence as we prepare the way. May we share the peace, hope, love and joy of Jesus Christ.

Spiritual Practice for Advent: Peace
Pause amid this busy season and open yourself to be mindful of the source of your life-giving breath. Reflect on where that breath blows you. Pray it leads you in pursuit of peace on Earth. In this short time of reflection, close your eyes, close out the din of the Christmas crowds, and prepare yourself for the coming of the Messiah. If your mind wanders to the commercial clamor, allow God to pull you back to focus on Christ, the center of Christmas. Expose your soul to God’s signature and the writing of the covenant of Christ’s peace on your heart.

Peace Covenant
This year, God, I will change the way I celebrate Advent to ensure Christ is at the center.

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  1. Diane Akers

     /  7 December 2013

    Great testimony!

  2. Lu Mountenay

     /  6 December 2013

    Yes, according to membership records Carol is a member. However, membership is not a requirement for writing for Daily Bread. Thanks for this great opportunity to invite those from other denominations and faiths to share with us.
    Many people from the community at large, including those from other faiths, have written before, and we have several writers scheduled in the future from the community at large. Look for great articles by Eric Garbison of Catholic Worker House appearing in Nov. 2014, Joy Howard in Dec. 2014, Erika Marksbury of National Catholic Reporter in August of 2015, and Lauren Logan, a Buddhist, wrote three stories to appear in May of 2015, and others. I hope you will enjoy reading these upcoming stories and reflections.
    Shalom, Lu Mountenay – editor, Daily Bread.

  3. Max Matthews

     /  6 December 2013

    It appears that Carol is not a member of Community of Christ. This is the first time I’ve seen a contribution to Daily Bread from a person ( it seems) not directly associated with Community of Christ. I’d be interested,if this is the case, about how she came to share this experience.

  4. Vera Entwistle

     /  6 December 2013

    Carol, the story you shared touched my heart and it made me stop and think of what Christmas really means. We can get so caught up in the glitz and bling, that we forget what the true story is all about. One Christmas two years ago we spent at the bedside of a friend in Sydney, Australia and I can honestly say that although the meal was poor and the surroundings bleak, we felt at peace just being there to support our friend. May God continue to bless you with the peace you found at such a sad time.

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