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Mary’s Musings: On Advent

By Mary Bridges, Chaplain

One of the first things we learn in a disaster is that everything is connected. As we battle a pandemic, my prayer has been that we are able to look at all parts of our lives and see them through a new lens. Many things have changed and may continue to change, but our strong foundations support us during difficult times. Christmas is one of those foundations. Advent, the first season of our church year, is my preparation for Christmas. There are four themes in Advent and each Sunday we light a candle to focus on them: hope, love, joy and peace.

I have come to think of Advent as a season of nesting, of preparing our hearts for the coming of God-with-us. He fills the nests of our hearts with his presence, though the noise surrounding us sometimes means we don’t realize it’s there.

It is important that we make Advent a time to reflect, ponder and not let the world distract us from our nesting time. I invite each of you to prepare a nesting place in your heart for Christ to dwell. Each day you can prepare your heart with this simple ritual. Light your Advent candle for week one, the next week candles one and two, and so on. End with the lighting of the Christ candle on Christmas. As you light your candle, repeat these words from a poem by Joyce Rupp: “Prepare the nest of hearts. / Patch up the broken parts. / Place more softness in the center. / Sit and warm the home with prayer. / Give the Christ a dwelling place.” Each evening, take a few minutes to think about the nest you are preparing and reflect on how God has been present in your life this day. Then use Paul’s words from Ephesians 3:17 as your prayer: “May Christ live in our hearts through faith.”  

Keep welcoming Christ into your heart-nest this Advent season, remember that it is there that Jesus continues to be born and desires to make his home, if only we will receive him and warm the nest with love.

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