Okay, it’s not quite not quite Advent, but I thought I’d share some of my thoughts and things I may do during this year’s Advent to better follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Of course, these are only some suggestions, of which there are many more to do.
Pray more earnestly. It’s easy to get into the routine of thanks, praise, intercession, confession, and petition, where one forgets to really connect with God whilst praying. Mix up the time in the day in which you pray, and the styles of prayer you use – praying over The Bible, reflecting on your week, using a chant or singing, etc.
Give your time as well as your money. Of course, around Christmas everybody is giving to each other and hopefully to charity. However, especially in the winter, many charities are busier than ever, and they may need more hands. Follow Jesus’ example of putting others’ needs before your own, and volunteer some of your time to assist others where they need it most.
In the same vein, volunteer at your church. Especially in a university community like mine, we lose a lot of the community at the start of Advent, but this is actually when some of the bigger services take place, sometimes one after the other. A smaller church might be in need of (more) cooks or readers or ushers.
Abstinence for Grace. Some, most notably non-Christians, consider abstinence as being a dramatic action for believers, but abstinence actually consists of less ‘effort’ – there is no removal of food altogether, but a changing of habits, a lessening of what we take for granted, in respect to those who do not have as much. For one day a fortnight, one could fast to experience the Grace of The Lord.
Think over a passage in the Bible. I love Lectio Divina, the practice of reading a passage in the Bible several times and seeing if any words or phrases are calling to you. As well as inspiring in us a sense of peace, Lectio Divina helps us concentrate more on the message and feeling of the Word than simply reading it.
Share a compliment with someone you wouldn’t normally. Because Advent is about doing something beyond the typical that we do the rest of the year, it might be worth sharing God’s Love with a stranger or a colleague one doesn’t normally speak to. Give them a positive something to lighten their day. These spiritual habits are great to make, and what better way to start than Advent?
Spend more time with the ones you love. In the rush of daily, it’s easy to forget about those we spend every day with, like our friends, colleagues, housemates, and family. This might sound easy to spend more time with them, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to overlook the ones we love the most. This Advent, take a second to remind them how blessed you are that God has guided you together.
Blessings, have a lovely weekend.