Some weeks, my Advent observances don’t go as I would like.

Take yesterday . . .

I was away from home, away from my wreath and candles, away from my guitar and song sheets. I had the Book of Common Prayer with me, but not my circle of friends who have become part of my annual tradition. 

I was with family, but there were basketball games and shopping trips and chores and TV shows filling up our day. Since we aren’t usually together for the holidays, the normal stuff of occasional long weekend visits took over. And even though I read some Bible passages by myself, thought about my church family lighting the candles for the first time this year, and prayed fervently for Jesus to come, it didn’t feel much like Advent.

I’m always a little disappointed when Advent isn’t all spiritual and sentimental every day. But I’m also a little relieved. Because unless you live on a different planet than me, life itself isn’t all spiritual and sentimental.

In real life — that is, during the weeks and months when my house isn’t all twinkly and I don’t light candles every night — there are shopping trips and chores and errands. I can’t always sit quietly in the flickering light and read aloud from my prayer book. But I still have to look to Jesus, still have to anticipate his comings, still have to prepare my heart.

So if real life gets in the way of my Advent observances, that’s ok. Hopefully that will make it easier for Jesus’ comings to get in the way of my real life all the rest of the year.

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Tonight, I lighted the green shepherd’s candle, albeit a day late. The green shepherds candle reminds us on the second Sunday in Advent of our responsibility to share what we have seen and heard. The Galilean shepherds, who received the first announcement of the Savior’s birth, left their task and went with haste to see the Christ child and then returned to tell others about the earthshaking event. Sharing the Good News required no special talent – simply telling others what they had seen and heard with the conviction of personal experience. This candle also serves to recall that Jesus spoke of himself as the “Good Shepherd” who cares for his sheep.

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More Advent links . . .