BOOK OF THE MONTH: PREPARING FOR JESUS BY WALTER WANGERIN, JR.

Week 3: A Christ-absorbed Advent

Wangering cover 2This month, we’re reading Preparing for Jesus, an Advent devotional by Walter Wangerin, Jr.

“Prepare” is a word we hear a lot this time of year. We’re preparing for Christmas, preparing our homes, preparing a feast, preparing for company — all kinds of preparations. Somewhere in there we’re also, hopefully, preparing for the coming of Jesus.

Wangerin writes on what it means to prepare by reflecting on John the Baptist, who burst out of the wilderness crying, “Prepare the way of the Lord!” John announces the Advent of Jesus’ public ministry and also a second Advent, the return of Christ which is yet to come.

As John, who cried Prepare to Israel, was the messenger of that first appearing [of Jesus], so John is the messenger now of the reappearing, the Second Coming of Christ!

 

Still, still he cries: Prepare!

 

Are we listening?

 

Do we, who are busy preparing for Christmas, parties and presents and decorations and food and church programs—and visitors—do we prepare with equal fervor for the visitation of the Lord?

 

What sort of Advent is this imminent Advent for you? If you are consumed by one more Christmas (one mere Christmas among two thousand) your Advent is fleeting, time-bound, and likely self-absorbed. Desperate preparations often indicate an anxiety about the opinions of others regarding ourselves. But if your participation in this temporal Advent truly signifies preparations for the final Advent, you are Christ-absorbed.

Read more here.

 

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites. This week, we continue to explore posts, podcasts, and videos that enrich us in this season of Advent. We end with a beautiful prayer for writers that will help our creative work. Enjoy and be blessed!

As always, if you have suggestions for Friday Favorites, let me know in the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@LisaKDeam) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

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Bringing Down the Wonder via Tammy Perlmutter  (keeping Advent when our hearts are heavy with waiting)

Preparations in the Dark via Lisa Colon DeLay (in this podcast, Lisa reflects on Advent practices and preparations and shares three rich poems)

The God That Is Coming via Kelly Brown Douglas (an Advent video reflection on how God is always moving toward us)

When You’re Not Feeling Very Adventy via Michelle DeRusha (how do we celebrate the Advent when we’re just not feeling . . . Adventy?)

An Advent of Falling Apart via Lisa Deam (this is a post I wrote last year about the darkness that sometimes comes upon us during this season)

A Writer’s Prayer via Nicky Gant (a prayer for our creative work)

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Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable

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Learn how your support can keep this website running: Support Us Today

 

CONTEMPLATIVE PROFILE: ST. AUGUSTINE ON THE INCARNATION

Today we have a beautiful meditation on the Incarnation from St. Augustine. In this passage from one of his Christmas sermons, Augustine reflects on the many names for Christ and reveals the tension inherent in the Word made flesh. I invite you to read and revel in the paradox of the Ruler of the Stars who nursed at his mother’s breast.

Man’s maker was made man,
that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother’s breasts;
that the Bread might be hungry,
the Fountain thirst,
the Light sleep,
the Way be tired from the journey;
that the Truth might be accused by false witness,
the Judge of the living and the dead be judged by a mortal judge,
Justice be sentenced by the unjust,
the Teacher be beaten with whips,
the Vine be crowned with thorns,
the Foundation be suspended on wood;
that Strength might be made weak,
that He who makes well might be wounded;
that Life might die.

 

He was made man to suffer these and similar undeserved things for us, that He might free us who were undeserving . . .

Sermon 191.1 (source)

ADVENT PRAYER

A Posadas prayer for Advent:

Divine and eternal Word, who descended from the Father into the heart of the ever Virgin Mary, your love for humankind leads you to Bethlehem where you are born at midnight in a poor and humble stable.

In truth, thousands of angels accompany you on this journey, and yet we, whom you came to save and lead to that Bethlehem of eternal joy, stubbornly turn away from you.

Forgive us, God and Lord of the universe, and help us to walk alongside Mary and Joseph, thus giving us the courage to fight against and triumph over every adversity. Amen.

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Read more about the tradition of Las Posadas here.

BOOK OF THE MONTH: PREPARING FOR JESUS BY WALTER WANGERIN, JR.

Wangering cover 2Week 2: Let it be a “Yes!”

This month we’re reading Preparing for Jesus by Walter Wangerin, Jr., a wonderful Advent devotional that will help you get ready for the coming of Christ.

In his reflection for December 11, Wangerin leads us to meditate on Mary, mother of Jesus. Mary joins four women named by Matthew as ancestors of Christ. Mary enters a sisterhood that we are called to enter, too.

In the passage below, Wangerin asks us to emulate Mary’s “Yes!” to the angel that announced Christ’s coming:

Mary, mother of our Lord, I wish I could be as pure a disciple as you were even from the beginning!

 

For you were invited to join a sisterhood–with Tamar and Bath-sheba–of sorrow and human suffering, since the child of your womb would draw the hatreds and the outrages of a scoundrel world.

 

And you said, “Yes.”

 

For you were asked to serve faithfully on behalf of others, like Rahab to protect a few for the sake of the many, like Ruth to turn disappointment into joy.

 

And you said, “Yes.”

 

. . .

 

For heaven itself was swelling within you, and you were the door. Not in terrible glory would he come, this Son of the Most High God. Not in the primal blinding light, not as the shout by which God uttered the universe, nor yet with the trumpet that shall conclude it, but through your human womb, as an infant bawling and hungry. By your labor, Mary, by the fierce contractions of your uterus, eternity would enter time. The angel said, Will you be the door of the Lord into this place?

 

And you said, “Yes.”

 

. . .

 

You, the first of all the disciples of Jesus, said, “Yes.”

What would you say?

Read more here.

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites! This month, FF will focus on the Advent season — a rich time of waiting, prayer, and expectation as we prepare for the coming of Christ. I’ve included some wonderful resources below. Let me know about others you’ve seen that you are finding helpful this year.

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I love the online, interactive Advent calendars I’ve been seeing in many places. Here are three of my favorites:

Advent Calendar 2017 – Best Books of 2017! via Englewood Review of Books (a new book every day)

2017 Advent Project via Biola University’s Center for Christianity, Culture, and the Arts (includes scripture, devotionals, art, video, and music each day)

Bodleian Libraries Advent Calendar via the Bodleian Libraries (a beautiful manuscript or work of art every day)

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Elsewhere, the web offers some lovely resources on journeying through the Advent season. Feast on these podcasts and articles/posts as you prepare for Jesus this year.

First Sunday of Advent 3-Minute Retreat via Loyola Press (take an online 3-minute retreat to begin the Advent season)

Finding Time for God in Advent via Chuck DeGroat (tapping into ancient rhythms and sacred story this season)

The journey to Christmas via Simon Parke (you do not have to put your wonder into words this Christmas – silence is okay)

The Liturgy of Waiting via Richella Parham (a Renovaré podcast)

The Dark Storm of Advent, a Humble Light of Christmas via Gwen Jorgensen (why the darkness at this time of lights?)

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Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable 

The Contemplative writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous donations of our readers. Even a gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support can keep this website running: Support Us Today

 

CONTEMPLATIVE PROFILE: CATHERINE OF SIENA ON THE JOURNEY OF ADVENT

Around 1377/78, the Italian mystic Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) wrote her spiritual treatise, The Dialogue. Throughout this treatise, she emphasizes Christ’s poverty and his humility in choosing to come to earth as a man. Catherine gives examples of Christ’s humility from major events in his life. Her reflection on Christ’s birth provides a wonderful way for us to journey through the Advent season.

In this section of text, God is speaking to the soul (and to us, the reader):

You see this gentle loving Word born in a stable while Mary was on a journey, to show you pilgrims how you should be constantly born anew in the stable of self-knowledge, where by grace you will find me born within your soul. You see him lying among the animals, in such poverty that Mary had nothing to cover him up with. It was winter, and she kept him warm with the animals’ breath and a blanket of hay. He is the fire of charity but he chose to endure the cold in his humanity.

I love the way this text refers to us as pilgrims–as God’s people, we are on a journey through this season of expectation. How is your pilgrimage through Advent going? Are you ready to be born anew?

Read The Dialogue here.

For Reflection:

Catherine of Siena - Advent

 

ADVENT PRAYER

An evening hymn for Advent from the 8th century:

Come, Sun and Savior, to embrace
Our gloomy world, its weary race,
As groom to bride, as bride to groom:
The wedding chamber, Mary’s womb.

At your great Name, O Jesus, now
All knees must bend, all hearts must bow;
All things on earth with one accord,
Like those in heav’n, shall call you Lord.

Come in your holy might, we pray,
Redeem us for eternal day;
Defend us while we dwell below,
From all assaults of our dread foe.

Source

BOOK OF THE MONTH: PREPARING FOR JESUS BY WALTER WANGERIN, JR.

Week One: What would you say?

Wangering cover 2One of my favorite Advent devotionals is Preparing for Jesus: Meditations on the Coming of Christ, Advent, Christmas, and the Kingdom by Walter Wangerin, Jr. I thought I’d share it with you this year. In this book, Wangerin offers thirty-seven reflections for the Advent and Christmas seasons.

In his meditation for December 5, Wangerin leads us to reflect on how Zecharaiah, the father of John the Baptist, reacted when God announced that Zechariah’s wife would soon bear a son. He reacted in disbelief. He did not trust God.

In Zechariah’s doubt is a question for us. For we are expecting a son, too. The Son of Man is coming to us, not just at Christmas, but at the end of time. How do we react to the Lord’s promise that he is coming soon? Wangerin writes:

Friend, unto you the Lord says, “Surely I am coming soon” (Rev. 22:20).

 

And what do you say to that promise? Do you by your unconscious behavior utter doubt? Does an earthbound vision deny the possibility? Are you scared to consider an end to the world?

 

“Can’t be.”

 

“Prove it.”

 

Sadly, the sign of our mistrust shall be the doubt itself, together with all the anxieties and suspicions and loneliness which doubt engenders. And these will last until we come to trust, or else until his coming comes to pass.

 

Jesus says, “I am coming soon!”

 

And how do you respond? Oh, let it be as a bride responds to the promise of the bridegroom, adorning yourself for his return, joyfully shouting with the Spirit, “Come!” (Rev. 21:2, 9; 22:17). Then your joy, your present beauty, your complete sense of assurance and belonging–these shall be signs of the Lord’s trustworthiness and of our trust, signs of his love until he comes in glory.

 

“Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!”

Read Preparing for Jesus here.

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Friday Favorites are back this week! I hope you enjoy this round-up of posts on prayer, writing, and the contemplative life.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@LisaKDeam) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

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Feeling Frayed? Me Too. That’s Why We Need Advent via Tina Boesch (with the help of Annie Dillard, Tina explores why we need Advent in our wreck of a world)

The Image Advent Calendar via Image Journal (today, Image is launching an interactive Advent calendar!)

Marriage as a Spiritual Practice via Sarah Wells (what is the practice of marriage and how does it help us become more complete followers of Jesus?)

Gaining Me: A Plea for Self-Care via Cara Meredith (sometimes we need to advocate for ourselves as much as we advocate for others)

Rhythms of Gratitude in a Mass-Produced World via Ashley Hales (“how we can recover the simple art of remembering, nurturing small moments of sustained attention?”)

Kazuo Ishiguro: ‘Write What You Know’ Is the Stupidest Thing I’ve Ever Heard via Emily Temple (lots of hot writing tips from noted author and Nobel Laureate Kazuo Ishiguro)

Is It Too Late to Start Writing After 50? via Julie Rosenberg (yes, you can begin a successful writing career later in life)

*****

Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable

The Contemplative Writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous donations of our readers. Even a gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support can keep this website running: Support Us Today