The First Week of Advent: PEACE
(If you haven’t already done so, please read the Introduction in my earlier blog post.)
Pour a layer of sand into the bottom of the pan. The sand will serve as a symbol of the desert and the desert times in our lives. Our desert times are experiences of barrenness in our lives or souls. These experiences may sometimes come into our lives as intruders, as in times of uncertainty, grief, insecurity, tedium, or loss. These experiences may simply be feelings of emptiness, a desert aridity, with no apparent reason. These experiences may come of our own choosing, when we feel called to change our normal way of living, to take on barrenness or sacrifice for spiritual reasons. Take a moment to consider how your journey to the desert might be taking place. Have you been forced to the desert because of difficult life circumstances? Are you already in the desert through a general feeling of emptiness? Or are you choosing to enter the desert to grow in your spirituality?
For now, leave the votive candles out of the pan. This week, let this barren pan remind you of the desert and why you are spending time there.
Read Genesis 12:1-9; 13:14-18
God called Abram to leave his homeland and journey through the desert wilderness to a land that God would show him. In faithful obedience, Abram left his homeland and its familiar ways to venture to a new and unknown land.
Think again about your own desert invitation. How have you been called to leave “normal” behind?
In what way might God be calling you to take a new and unknown journey this Advent? What familiar way of life (or way of thinking) will you need to leave behind in order to follow God’s lead into the desert?
At every temporary resting stop, Abram built an altar to worship and thank God.
What blessings are bringing gratitude at this point on your life’s journey? What gifts might you find in this contemplative desert time? Take a moment to thank God for the gifts you already notice, and ask for awareness to see those yet to be discovered.