Advent Meditations

Advent Wreath

Advent Meditation: December 11

by Jeremy Langill

World peace. Just economic systems. An end to racism and sexism — I have a lot of things that I hope for. And while I do think that we make headway on a daily basis (here at All Saints and the many other places that all of us live our lives) on these big, weighty topics, sometimes I have to concern myself with the “small” places where I can make a difference.

In comes youth group… talk about a group where the advent themes of hope, patience, waiting, and waiting, and waiting really come into play. Don’t get me wrong—I absolutely love every young person that I get to work with—I also know that they, like so many of us, are on a journey, and sometimes that journey is messy, unorganized, and doesn’t always have a clear path.

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Advent Wreath

Advent Meditation: December 10

by Laura Thornton

“I love your necklace, the colors are beautiful.”

Advent is about waiting and expecting. I’ve been living with those words in the most fun, expectant way even before Advent began.

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Advent Wreath

Advent Meditation: December 9

by Ed Bacon

“Hope in the Darkness”

“In those days, there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.” That of course is the frame St. Luke puts around his version of Jesus’s birth.

Many events in our religious narrative give reference to the cultural or political contexts for God’s Story of grace and love. That is because our theology speaks to real life concerns — what actually obstructs abundant life for all. In telling the Christmas story framed by what was going on culturally and politically, writers of scripture are claiming that God’s grace and love impact our daily lives and bring hope even to our darkest, most intractable problems.

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Advent Wreath

Advent Meditation: December 8

by Zelda Kennedy

In an Advent devotional one of my favorite poets, Joyce Rupp, felt that Advent was a time to be open to our own light and how we allow that light to transform the world. The devotional suggestion for December 8 requests that we “Let the Star of Acceptance nudge us to receive the unwanted ones.”

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Advent Wreath

Advent Meditation: December 7

by Janine Schenone

“The Beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ” are the first words of the first Gospel, and we still need to read them every year. We begin the church year with these words, and they are a reminder that, from God’s point of view, we are still at the beginning of the transformation Jesus is bringing about in the world: still young seeds buried in the dark earth, waiting for the light of Christ to reach us and coax us out of our shells. One day is like a thousand to God, who is abundantly patient with us.

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Advent Wreath

Advent Meditation: December 6

by Jon Dephouse

Last year, we heard Richard Rohr refer to a poet he had been reading named Christian Wiman. Rohr quoted Wiman as saying, “I never knew what love was until I met one that opened and opened and opened.” This line has perhaps haunted many of us, and since then I have been reading Wiman’s book of prose called, “My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer.” I offer one quote here to consider as we journey through this season of Advent:

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Advent Wreath

Advent Meditation: December 5

Advent.

ad·vent/ˈadˌvent/Noun:
1.The arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.
2.The first season of the church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays.

On the First Sunday of Advent at All Saints Church in Pasadena we lit one candle — as we always do: the Candle of Hope. This Advent — this week — that Candle of Hope was kindled with our hearts breaking at the escalating cycle of violence against unarmed people of color in our nation.

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Advent Meditation: December 4

Advent Wreath

by Susan Russell

Franciscan priest and long time friend of All Saints, Richard Rohr is founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation, a prolific author and a powerful force for God’s love, justice and compassion. This excerpt from his 2008 book “Preparing for Christmas: Daily Reflections for Advent” is one I’ve highlighted, bookmarked and returned to again and again.

“Less Is More” by Richard Rohr

I have never been busier in my life than I have been recently. What right do I have to talk about contemplation when I have been living on overdrive? It seems that we tend to think that more is better. I am told that busyness is actually a status symbol for us! It is strange that when people have so much, they are so anxious about not having enough — to do, to see, to own, to fix, to control, to change.

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Advent Meditation: December 3

Advent Wreath

by Susan Russell

Madeleine L’Engle is one of my all time favorites. From “A Wrinkle in Time” — which I read for the first time as a young person when it was published in 1962 — to all her “Crosswicks Journals” to… well, virtually everything she ever wrote. I had the privilege of attending a writer’s workshop she led at Mt. Calvary in Santa Barbara many moons ago — and it remains in my mind one of the most fruitful, inspiring weekends ever.

If you’re not familiar with her work, Madeline L’Engle was an award winning author, actress and Episcopalian. She famously wrote “All will be redeemed in God’s fullness of time — all. Not just the small portion of the population who have been given the grace to know and accept Christ” — earning the label “Christian Universalist.” As a result many Christian bookstores refused to carry her books — which were frequently banned from Christian schools and libraries. Meanwhile, some of her secular critics attacked her work for being too religious. I think she’d have fit right in here at All Saints Church.

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Advent Meditation: December 2

Advent Wreath

by Anne Peterson

Advent — the beginning of a new church year — is one of my favorite seasons, and not just because the altar is draped in my second most favorite color, purple. Comprising the four weeks leading to the birth of Jesus on Christmas Eve, Advent picks up with Mary toward the end of her pregnancy, and waits with her for the birth of the Christ Child.

I’m not all that good with waiting.

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Advent Meditation: December 1

 

Advent Wreath

by Susan Russell

A friend of mine once described how “waiting” during Advent is different than some of the other kinds of “waiting” we do: waiting for a bus, for example. Waiting for a bus can be both boring and anxiety-producing. Will it be on time? Will I make my connection? Am I waiting at the right bus stop . . .  what if I looked at the schedule wrong? Where IS that bus, anyway? That’s waiting in anxiety.

Waiting in expectancy is more like being seated in the concert hall, waiting for the curtain to rise.

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Advent Meditation: November 30

Advent Wreath

by Ed Bacon

“Tenderness is the most foreign thing there is… God is too busy loving us to get around to disappointment.” — Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ

On the First Sunday of Advent, Fr. Greg Boyle blessed the Rector’s Forum at All Saints Church with an inspiring conversation about Ferguson, Mo. and the theology of kinship. The entire presentation is transformative, and I commend it to you on our YouTube Channel.

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