1. First, do you come from a tradition in which the Advent season is embraced? This is not true for all of us. If you do, what is your personal preference? Do you love it or hate it? Embrace it or want it to go away already? How enthusiastically does your church enter into Advent? The church of my childhood was not a liturgical church, we did not practice the seasons of the year. Every Sunday was Sunday, except for the two Sunday's when we celebrated Christmas and Easter. Learning about the seasons, including Advent and Lent, was a bit of learning curve for me. I left church as a teenager and returned - to a very different denomination - as an adult, much had changed. But I have found that practicing Advent enhances my faith life and spirituality and makes the season more meaningful. The churches I have been in and worked in since returning to church as an adult have all practiced Advent. We use the Advent wreath, stop using flowers at the altar and use greens instead, the tone and tenor of the service change - less celebratory, more reflective - and the color is blue. We are fairly enthusiastic about it. But then, I am the pastor and in this I lead the way.
2. What is your favorite Advent music? (A tiny hint about mine can be found above.) Link to a favorite piece if you can. I have a CD of old carols and hymns, very old English, and while it is called Christmas music - the very genre of the music makes it more appropriate for Advent than Christmas. It is solemn and reflective, and very beautiful. I'll have to go look it up since I can't remember off the top of my head what it is....
3. What Advent music makes your skin crawl-- or at least annoys you and makes you wish it were Christmas already? None I can think of....
4. Any Advent discoveries or re-discoveries? Again, we love links-- share your music with us! I love to sing, "Lo He Comes with clouds descending"
5. Tell us how your Advent is going this year. Lost in a haze of church busyness? Finding ways to sit quietly in the darkness and wait? Give us your tips for a really rich Advent experience!
Way too busy and distracted by many factors of life. I am however reading and participating in Jan Richardson's "Illuminated Advent Retreat." This retreat, built off of her book, "Night Visions" is delicious and forces me to take time every day to read her reflections and occasionally write a blog post of my own. Mostly I find that I am just too busy to really embrace the degree of silence and reflection I desire and need. It just is.
But as I lamented to my spiritual director this week she reminded me to try and find God in the moment, what ever that moment is.
And so, I am.
Soon the church will look like this and Advent will be over. But for the next couple of weeks I will continue to try to be present to God in the moment and breathe in Advent. Advent, still.