Christmas blessings from The Upper Room. It’s hard to believe that we have made another trip around the sun in what feels like record time, light speed.
The holidays are already here and once again I’m lagging behind, trying to get things in good order so that I can enjoy the season.
I’ve noticed that moving from disarray to order takes a lot of energy. My routines and best intentions are easily disrupted by the noise and news of the day. My regular spiritual practices of prayer, reading, and church attendance have been haphazard this year. Even during the quiet moments, I find it difficult to stay focused. Perhaps you are experiencing the same.
As the prophet Jeremiah reminds us: Return to God, search for God with all your heart, call on God, and pray. Do that and God’s presence will be known.
Advent serves a high purpose. It is the start of the church’s liturgical year and marks a period to prepare for the arrival of the Christ Child, the ultimate gift of God’s abundant love. Jesus is our Savior and Redeemer, Emmanuel—God among us, which is why Advent offers themes of hope, joy, love, and peace.
This year, I’ll add grace to my Advent themes list. Advent can be a “grace period” for you and me at the end of another challenging year. Let’s use this grace period as a fresh start, a time to reorder our lives and resume the practices of faith that renew our souls.
Here are three ways I plan to shape my life with God each day during Advent. Will you join me?
Take notice of God’s work in our midst.
Be the presence of God to others through word and deed.
Sit quietly with God in a prayerful, listening posture.
Just as we are an expectant people, God is also waiting patiently for us. Astonishing good news!
Thank you for all the ways you have encouraged us and supported The Upper Room this year. We are grateful beyond measure. Your gifts and other acts of kindness bring order to our ministry as we continue to invite people to create daily life with God. Please take a few minutes to read through this newsletter. It’s our good news report, prepared especially for our donors, who make it happen.
May the peace of Christ be with you today and always.
Sherry Elliott is the Executive Director of Administration, Interpretation, and Development at The Upper Room.
This article also appears in the Advent 2022 Fellowship Focus newsletter for friends and donors of The Upper Room. Click the image below to view the complete newsletter.