figuring out advent.

i’m a sucker for those seasons right before a big holiday.

like advent – the days/weeks before christmas. and lent – the days/weeks before easter. these are seasons that we contemplative-types love. a reason to set aside some time every day to slow down, to reflect, to soak in the meaning of the season instead of just getting caught up in the craziness of christmas. and, of course, we should be taking that kind of time every day, practicing mindfulness & mediation; but, let’s be honest. not all of us are that good at it. i know that i am not. not. at. all.

the thing is, i get so excited & inspired when this season, advent, begins, that i get a little crazy in my head. which, of course, is the complete opposite of being contemplative. i spend hours searching for the perfect book, reading, podcast, etc. to use as my advent devotional. i am a lover of words. so, i love, love love to soak up others’ words. and i want something on a daily basis. something to read & inspire my thoughts. something to get my creative juices flowing & prepare me for the day. i have a new blog buddy who has created a weekly advent mediation which i will be using, and i am so grateful for that. it looks like it will be really meaningful. you can check it out for yourself here. but, i am still searching for something else to also add to my daily routine.

well, i suppose i actually have everything i need. perhaps the problem isn’t resources, but commitment. so, now, i just need a plan. and i seriously need it because i am totally an undisciplined person. totally.

i figured that since i have created the belovelive december challenge, and since i have chosen words which reflect theological themes, i should use them in daily meditations/blog posts. then i am killing a bunch of birds with one stone, i guess you could say. i am fulfilling the photo challenge, sharing them here, and having a chance to reflect & write on the themes on a daily basis. and for me, that is what the challenge was all about. so, boom. advent contemplative moments ready to go!

now, how am i gonna do this? ok. the plan is this:

  • take my photo for the day using the word prompt.
  • set an alarm every morning from now till new years & get up (this is the part i’m bad at).
  • make coffee. light candles. put on christmas music.
  • read. write. type. post.

i can do this. i can. i want to. i need to. my soul will thank me for it. and my life will be changed because of it. truly. i know this because i have done this before in my life, and it is so meaningful. transforming. balancing. peaceful. everything in my soul is balanced when i take this time & nourish my inner liz. and that, in turn, is good for any & everyone who is around me.


day 2: 'tis the season for hope!
day 2: ’tis the season for hope!

advent is the christian season before christmas. it includes the 4 sundays (and weeks) before christmas. while it is a christian celebration, i believe that it can be a time for people of all, any, or no faith. yes, for us christians, we talk about waiting for god who comes to us in human form, to show love, to bring peace, to bring light to an otherwise confusing world. but, here is where other faith traditions all meet. we all hope. we all wait. we all yearn for peace & love. this season is a time when any of us, if we make the time, may  reflect a little on our lives, on our place in the world, on the places we experience and spread that same hope, peace, love, & light.

in a sense, advent is mindfuless. it is to be aware. to be conscious. to be expectant. to be alert. to be present in the present moment. to tap into something deep within your soul that reminds & inspires you to keep going. it is a reminder that even in the darkest & coldest of winters, the light always returns.

yesterday was the first sunday in advent. it was the sunday of hope. and that’s just what advent is all about. remembering the coming hope. trusting that all will be well. that, even if we don’t understand when or how, we trust anyway. we work for peace anyway. we love anyway. we live life to the fullest anyway.

slowing down for advent allows that hope to soak into my soul, and prepares me to learn to live. to simply be me & to be the change i want to see in the world.

so, today, we wait. and we hope.

day 3: waiting - my little zola was just waiting for me to move so she could steal my place. hehe.

day 3: waiting – my little zola was just waiting for me to move so she could steal my place. hehe.

The house lights go off and the footlights come on. Even the chattiest stop chattering as they wait in darkness for the curtain to rise. In the orchestra pit, the violin bows are poised. The conductor has raised his baton. In the silence of a midwinter dusk, there is far off in the deeps of it somewhere a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself. You hold your breath to listen. You walk up the steps to the front door. The empty windows at either side of it tell you nothing, or almost nothing. For a second you catch a whiff of some fragrance that reminds you of a place you’ve never been and a time you have no words for. You are aware of the beating of your heart…The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.”

— Frederick Buechner, Whistling in the Dark

hope & peace, my friends.

7 thoughts on “figuring out advent.

  1. You’re so cute in your determination to meditate. You actually have more self discipline than you think you do. You learned swedish in a country where every one speaks english, you did the photo a day challenge for 12 month, you started yoga and stuck to it, … Looking forward to your daily advent posts. They will be my advent calendar!

    1. you are so sweet for reminding me & pepping me on that i’m not as “bad” as i think i am. 😉 so cool that you’re gonna use my blog posts as an advent calendar. 🙂

  2. Great post! I agree with Nicole; you are more disciplined than you acknowledge. That being said I can relate to what you said about being a contemplative type who hasn’t yet developed the habit of contemplation. I was walking pretty regularly in the mornings starting last Spring,..took a break during the summer and then started again this Fall. But it all fell apart when i went away to visit my VSO, then got sick, then the rains came…etc etc….and have not yet managed to put it back together. But it is my intent to do just that. So give yourself credit for the things you follow through on and maybe take smaller steps as you build your habit of contemplation during advent(hope you don’t mind my unsolicited advice).

    I also love how you universalized advent in this post and interpreted it in such a way as to be accessible to anyone who waits with hope, during dark times, for the return of the light. I think plenty of our Christian practices/rituals/celebrations have a certain amount of their roots and inspiration in the more Earth centered religions that predated Christianity. And bottom line we are all earth bound humans no matter what religion we may or may not practice so we have our humanity in common and the urge to make a place in our lives for love, peace, hope and joy…So Thank You for this wonderful reminder!

    May the blessings of this season be yours.

  3. thank you for such a fabulous comment!! i love your advice & tips & encouragement. it’s always grat to know that someone can relate to me, that i’m not alone in my thoughts & struggles with myself.

    i truly appreciate your comments on my “universalized advent post”. i could not ask for a better compliment. it is always my intention to try to embrace all faiths, religions, thoughts, and people. if i did that in a small way in this post, then i am truly happy. thank you for sharing your thoughts & impressions. and yes, our humanity, is that which binds us together.

    may your season be filled with light, love, & peace too.

  4. I can so totally relate to your feelings of being an undisciplined contemplative. It feels like an oxymoron to me, so it’s great to know I’m not the only one! 🙂

    As usual, another beautiful post (and, as usual, I’m behind in reading them!).

  5. I can so totally relate to your feelings of being an undisciplined contemplative. It seems like an oxymoron to me, so I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one! 🙂

    As always, a beautiful post (which, as always, I’m behind in reading)!

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