Advent is a season of preparation. It’s a preparation for receiving Jesus, the one who came, who is present, and who will come again. In ancient times, we called this a “penitential” season, or a season of repentance and change. Such is what we Christians desire and Advent as a season seems to intensify that desire.

To encourage living into that desire and change, we’re hosting three new classes or opportunities this Advent. I also have a little survey to see if you’d be interested in other things, too.

For the Mission campus, Nancy Smith will be leading a class hosted in the Lounge on Sundays at 9:45am that will be a conversation and study of Advent themes. It’s title is “The Uncluttered Heart: Making Room for God.”

Jenny Vineyard will lead a smaller conversation in the Mission Heritage Room also at 9:45am on Sundays for prayer and quieter readings related to Advent. Her study is called “While We Wait: Living the Questions of Advent.” Both conversations will be relationally rich as well.

For the Shawnee campus, I (Pastor Ben) will guide us through an Advent-related conversation Sundays at 9:45am and I’m going to take ideas from both of the above women! I suppose we could call it “Making Room for God: Living the Questions of Advent” (or something like that!). Regardless of the title, we’ll focus on, well, focusing—especially when it feels impossible to do so. And the “what” (or rather, “who”) of our focus will be the substance of all the above classes.

I also have an experiment I want to try.

Advent is a sacred time for me. I love the contemplation of it. The whole world seems comfortable bending closer to my preference for silence. Yet, most of the world also bends against silence and stillness. It can be too loud. There can be too many words (and of course, too many advertisements!). In response, I want to fall toward stillness, where the heart is prepared by the Spirit of God to live out good action when the time calls for it.

Do you want to join me in such a stillness? A Wednesday evening time for prayer, reading and stillness?

Here’s what I want to do. I want to do this online. (That’s the experiment part.) In the quietness of our homes, we’ll gather online and I’ll guide us through prayer, stillness, and other traditions that are helpful to me.

There can be two options. Let me know if you resonate with one or the other. One: with kids and we do a Wednesday gathering online with our families. It would include using an Advent wreath at home, lighting and extinguishing candles, but I would guide us through prayer and a reading and other things. Or, two, let’s focus on our adult spirituality and be nourished that way. (Who knows, maybe you’ll vote on this and we’ll do both tracks).

I’ll share more details for those interested. Letting me know you’re interested doesn’t mean you’re a permanent fixture. It’s just a little nod of interest.

Let me know if you are interested.

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