For Christians, the season of Advent should be a time of reflection, of waiting and watching for Jesus's miraculous birth. But the secular world likes to elbow in, with Christmas displays appearing in late summer. The secular celebrations of the weeks before Christmas often whips us into a frenzy of shopping, decorating, baking, and scheduling encounters with Santa (and the elves!). But our faith beckons us to a gentler way, one focused on the divine.
These daily meditations invite you into a more faith-filled observation of Advent and Christmas. Some devotions explore traditional Christian ways to make the seasons, from the Advent wreath to Christmas pageants, from favorite hymns to setting up the creche. But on other days, the reflections offer ideas about how to infuse a sense of the holy into popular traditions such as decorating the tree, sending Christmas cards, and exchanging gifts.
In these remarkable seasons of Advent and Christmas, the preparations we make to welcome Jesus should not only be in our homes but also our hearts.
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Scott Gunn is executive director of Forward Movement, a discipleship ministry of the Episcopal Church. He travels widely as preacher, speaker, and retreat leader. Author of several books, his most recent book is Easter Triumph, Easter Joy: Meditations for the Fifty Days of Eastertide. Prior to serving at Forward Movement, Scott was a parish priest in the Diocese of Rhode Island. Before that, he had a career in information technology. He lives in Cincinnati with his spouse, the Rev. Sherilyn Pearce.
Richelle Thompson embraces Advent and Christmas as the most wonderful times of the year. She serves as editor at Forward Movement and has spent her professional life writing and sharing stories. She is married to Jeff Queen, an Episcopal priest, and they have two adult children and a newborn granddaughter. They live in God's country in Northern Kentucky just a few miles from downtown Cincinnati, a place where the neighbors still wave and deer feast on the flowers.
As Director of Development, Lindsay Barrett-Adler loves to connect with the donors who make it possible for Forward Movement to inspire disciples and empower evangelists. Before joining Forward Movement, Lindsay spent ten years as a fundraiser at nonprofits, churches, and schools in Philadelphia. She is a graduate of Capital University and Princeton Theological Seminary. Lindsay and her husband, the Rev. Paul Adler, have three small children and would greatly appreciate more coffee.
A native of Argentina, Hugo Olaiz is an associate editor for Latino/Hispanic resources at Forward Movement. A member of Holy Trinity Church, he lives in Oxford, Ohio, with his husband John-Charles Duffy and a dog named Percy.
Miriam McKenney is the director of mission for Forward Movement. She and her husband, David, have three daughters and live in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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