The annual holiday scramble has begun! As much as we want to slow down and prepare properly for our great Christmas celebration, we usually succumb to the frenzy instead of focusing on what truly matters most during this holy season of Advent. We feel it during our staff meetings and conversations about all the activities going on here at St. Alfred’s, and then there are all the holiday parties making a return this year, shopping, and trips to the post office – it’s a lot!
And so, as a respite from the frenzy, I offer my annual antidote – some simple and wonderful Advent offerings that don’t require a lot of time but do offer each of us a chance to pause amid the busyness, take a deep breath, and remind ourselves of the great beauty and mystery that the Advent and Christmas season bring to us.
During our Sunday Adult Faith Formation we are reading a series of Advent/Christmas reflections by Katerina Whitley entitled “Waiting for the Wonder.” We still have copies available in the Church office or you can order it directly from Amazon Smile or your favorite local bookseller. We missed our first gathering last week due to my nasty cold so for those attending, please read through the first 10 reflections for this Sunday.
Daughters of the King, an Episcopal order of women devoted to prayer and parish support, is offering a Tuesday evening reflection during Advent at 6:30 via Zoom. They last about 15 minutes and are a wonderful way to wind down after a busy day. The Zoom link is: Zoom Meeting
Our daily offering of Compline on Facebook at 8:00 p.m. is using another book of Advent reflections entitled “Love Came Down at Christmas,” by Margaret Bullitt-Jonas. If you’ve not been in the habit of tuning in for Compline and you have access to Facebook, this might be a wonderful way to slow down and refocus at the end of each day. Even if you can’t tune in at 8:00 p.m., the offering remains available on Facebook for several days afterwards.
The Brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist in Cambridge is offering a daily word for Advent meditation. Their brief reflections take just a minute to read but can stay with you throughout the day as a wonderful reminder of the holiness of this season. You can access the brother’s words via email through this link: Word – SSJE
Another daily meditation comes to us through the Episcopal Church’s Forward Movement publications. Like the offerings from the brothers at SSJE, these daily “words” take just a minute to read but can have lasting benefits. Sign Up for AdventWord Emails
A very special event that our organist and choirmaster, Kevin Johnson creates every year with our choirs is the service of Lessons & Carols. This is a beautiful service composed of scripture and music that tells the story of God’s plan for salvation in a most glorious way. Our service this year will be on Sunday, December 18th at 4:00 p.m. in the church. We have posters available and would love to have your help posting those around the community so that we can share this wonderful service with the wider community.
Finally, on Thursday, December 22nd, our weekly noon Eucharist will be dedicated as a service of remembrance. For those who have lost a loved one, the joy and festivity of the holiday season can be at odds with their sense of grief and loss. Our prayers during that service will focus on healing us of from our sense of loss, loneliness, and grief so that we can fully experience the presence of God celebrated in the birth of our Savior.
I hope that whether through these simple offerings or perhaps you have your own favorite resource for quiet prayer and reflection, that you will give yourself the gift of paying attention to the things that really matter, that remind us of the very real and near presence of God no matter how busy our lives might be. See you in Church!