Monday, December 1, 2014

Advent Devotional 2014

[Editor's note: for Advent 2014, I've decided to repost parts of last year's Advent Devotional.]

Each year just before the last leaves of Autumn see their way to the ground, and the shadow of evening comes earlier each day, my thoughts turn to the season of Advent.

Growing up in the Roman Catholic church, I learned that there was indeed such a season. As a child it was marked by an Advent Wreath with its four candles - three purple and one pink - each of which were lighted in succession starting on the first Sunday in Advent. I could see that Advent was a time of change: the church calendar actually changed, the priest's vestments changed color. We were no longer in "ordinary" time.

As I grew older, with my participation in Protestant churches, I kept the habit of marking the Advent season. For me it was a time of waiting, a time of preparing. And in 1996, I published an Advent Devotional, a book to be read each day to mark the days before the celebration of the arrival of Christ.

It was during these years in the mid to late-1990s, that I was considering a career change to one of ministry and I actually enrolled in seminary. But it was not to be - family and life obligations would soon take me away from that path. I was put upon a different path, one that made me realize this: plans have a funny way of changing suddenly and there is a purpose and a meaning to that change.

The "waiting" as I call it is all about change and anticipating change. Preparing for change. Leaving the old ways and welcoming the new, even when it is unknown and scary.

Over the next twenty four days, I hope to recreate my work which was entitled "Stir Up Your People, O God!" and comprised of images, poems, quotes and stories about the arrival of Christ. Even after 18 years, this work still has meaning and a message which I hope you enjoy.

Photo: Stained glass windows in the Mausoleum of the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles, California; originally created in the 1920s for Saint Vibiana Cathedral, Los Angeles.

© 2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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