Monday

The journey begins...

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I no longer worship in the liturgical denomination I was raised, but my spiritual roots are embedded deep in the rhythms of advent and lent that were part of my faith walk for many years - and as each season approaches, I anticipate with joy returning to those liturgies in my private devotions and times of family worship. 

Last year, I posted daily photos of my Way of Light Wreath, created by Caleb Voskamp, along with scriptures from one of my favorite advent devotionals.  They are some of my most popular posts, and even this year, some of the photos are popping up again on Pinterest. To see those photos and read the accompanying scriptures, just click on the Jesus is the LIGHT of the world photo below.

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For several weeks, I've been preparing for advent this year - researching scriptures on joy and light for daily meditation and journaling. My goal was to have advent devotions ready to share here on Pollywog Creek, but when health issues resulted in an unanticipated hospital stay and other more pressing commitments required my waning energy and few remaining brain cells, I was forced to re-evaluate that goal and make adjustments.

It's humbling, but I can accept that those joy and light passages might be just for me this year, so as I consider them in study and prayer each day through advent - while reading a few favorite advent devotionals I return to every year, as well as a few new ones I've recently acquired - I'll keep most of that journaling and thoughts in drafts, and Lord willing, I'll publish them as devotionals next year at Advent. 

Some of my favorite Advent devotionals over the years have been those written by the lovely and gracious Ann Voskamp. Her Advent devotional, Jesse Tree Journey and Ornaments, are FREE to print out and use with your family. Also free is Ann's A Journey of Wonder Advent calendar, with suggested scriptures and easy activities for keeping Christ at the center of Christmas. That calendar is available from Lifeway here.  

On her Journey of Wonder calendar, Ann's suggestion for today is that we leave the manger in our Nativity set empty until Christmas Eve, replacing the figure for baby Jesus with the name Emmanuel written on a slip of paper. I had already placed the manger from one of our creches at the end of my Way of Light Wreath. This is how it looked this morning before and after I followed Ann's suggestion. 

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This year, we're lighting tea lights on the wreath every day, except for Sundays, when we're using tapers.

Is Advent part of your church's tradition, and do you and/or your family celebrate Advent at home with a wreath and devotions? I'd love to hear about how you keep Christ at the center of your Christmas.