giving gifts

Nine Tips to Help You Survive Advent

Since Advent is often a time of welcoming relatives to the home, make an effort to include them in the family Christmas traditions they missed out on last year, such as loading the dishwasher, making their own beds, and picking up after themselves.

Decorating the outside of your house is a great way to show the neighbors how important Advent is to your family. And remember, it’s not a competition to see whose house is the best on your block, although if your lights are not bright enough to interfere with the navigation of passing jetliners then, frankly, you’re just not feeling the true Christmas spirit.

With the Eyes of Our Hearts

The journey of faith is long and full of forked roads. Every attempt at faithful living is a response to God’s initial invitation. But the life of faith will always require certain choices. We have personal and communal responsibilities to live into. Do we choose to be foolish or wise, living prepared lives or unprepared lives, sleeping through God’s activity or wide awake and ready to join in God’s work? Every day we choose between life and death, recalling God’s steadfastness, relying on God’s grace, and remembering God’s justice.

An eschatological thread runs through this month’s texts. We celebrate the end of the liturgical year on the feast of Christ the King. We begin a season of active preparation for the coming of God, while at the same time God is actively calling out the faithful. God chooses us. But our choices matter as well. How do we choose to respond in faith to the life God continually offers us? What do we worship? What do we choose to remember? Where do we choose to place our hope?

Often when we hear the word “choice” we also hear the word “individual.” However, to choose wisely means putting our focus on the wider community. Choosing wisely means recognizing our status as “children of light” (1 Thessalonians 5:5) and constantly negotiating within varied contexts what it means to live in the light of Christ.

Enuma Okoro, of Durham, North Carolina, is the author of Reluctant Pilgrim and co-author of Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals.

[ November 6 ]
Bound to Serve
Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25; Psalm 70
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25:1-13

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