Settle in to your quiet space with several deep, slow breaths. Light a candle, if you wish.
Breathe in: Strengthen my heart
Breathe out: I stand before You
- Jeremiah 33:14-16 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I have made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. (Jer. 33:14)
- Psalm 25:1-10 Listen to Psalm 25 sung.
- 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 And so may [God] strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. (1 Thes. 3:13)
- Luke 21:25-36 Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down… and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength… to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21: 34-36, selections)
The theme of “getting ready” is nothing new in this season. Getting ready for Christmas, definitely: are the gifts wrapped? cookies made? have we been good for Santa? Advent, too, is about getting ready. The word Advent means “coming,” and the scriptures and songs of the season tell us again and again to get ready for baby Jesus’ coming. “Let every heart prepare him room.”
Advent doesn’t only point us back 2000 years in history, but also forward, to a time when Jesus will come and God’s intentions for the beloved kingdom will be fulfilled. Again and again, the scriptures and songs of Advent show us glimpses of that coming day, and remind us that God coming to be With Us doesn’t necessarily look like power and might, but like bringing down the powerful and lifting up the lowly. Like a baby in a food trough.
How can we possibly get ready for that?
You may or may not consider yourself “creative,” or a maker, crafter, or artist. You may or may not sew, knit, paint, write, sing, do calligraphy, make scrapbook pages, work with wood, weave, do collage… or any other artform you can think of. But we do all make things: we make meals, we make connections with others, we make plans, we even make sense of things that happen to us and in our world (at least, we try).
This week, consider how you work toward being ready for the Advent—the coming—of Jesus.
How do makers and crafters stay ready for their work?
- By having their materials at hand, and prepped to use.
- By paying attention, being alert to ideas and inspiration.
- By seeing the possibilities that are already around them.
Take a few minutes to explore your home/workspace/craftroom thoughtfully, and select three or four items (which may or may not be typical craft supplies!) that represent “being ready” for the work of making. Bring these items into your sacred space. Some ideas:
- Tools/materials you always keep on hand and ready to use: a basic cooking ingredient, sharpened pencils, printer ink cartridges, clean paintbrushes.
- A trusted source of inspiration that reminds you to pay attention or helps you see things in new ways.
- Something you’ve forgotten you had (in the yarn world this is called “deep stash”—the old stuff you keep overlooking even though you loved it once and really intended to get around to using it).
In the week ahead, reflect on these items and how they represent being ready: What internal resources do you use to make your heart ready for the fulfillment of God’s kingdom?
What do you already have at hand? Where do you find inspiration and encouragement? What “deep (spiritual) stash” have you stored up to see you through the times you are empty, floundering, or facing “maker’s block”?
Maker of the Universe,
in this season of preparation
—this gifting season, this cookie season,
this being good for goodness’ sake season—
show me again
how to prepare my heart
to make room for You
and to stand before You
when you come to be with us.
Let me keep close at hand the tools I need
to be ready for your unexpected kingdom:
tools for breaking down what needs to be broken,
and tools for creating what needs to be built up.
Let me stay alert at all times,
ready to be inspired by your Spirit
in her every unexpected breath.
And let me draw on the deep well of love I have received,
the deep longings that tug me forward,
the deep questions that lead me to wonder—and even to wander
to unexpected places.
In this season of preparation, O God,
teach me how
—by the discipline of being ready—
even I can join You
in making things new.