Dear Friends,

It is two days before Thanksgiving and already, my laptop screen is peppered with “Early Black Friday” deals popping up here and there.  I click on a few, I admit it.  Soon, I’m drawn into comparing this or that gizmo, things I hadn’t even realized existed, many of them, never mind contemplating purchasing one.  I sift through “Holiday Guides for 2019” and start making lists.

I take a deep breath, shut down all the different open windows, and set the tablet aside.  Time to take a step away.

The season of Advent begins on Sunday, December 1.  Like the High Holy Days of the Jewish tradition that come in the fall, these days before Christmas are a time to take a “step back” at least here and there, now and then.  As the pace of the “outer world” escalates with events, shopping, parties, demands, it’s a season to try and have the discipline or self-composure to make space for some “inward time.”  Time for silence.  Time for thinking.  Writing. Music. Prayer.  However, it is that you “center down” as the Quakers say and begin to refind yourself a little in all that swirls around you.  What helps bring you back to, well, “you,” and some divine or holy other?

From the time I was a little girl and loved opening the Advent calendar and making Christmas crafts in our “Santa’s work room,” I’ve always loved Advent.  To me, it’s an invitation.  To make a little space for the sacred in our lives.  Dedicate a tiny slice of the day to letting my spirit or soul or whatever word I can find to describe the deepest place inside of me, to let that try to breathe, to stretch and move around a little, or sometimes, simply to rest.

Advent is the four weeks before Christmas.  A gift of time when we are invited to consider the life of the spirit in new ways. I look forward to seeing you at the Fair, at the Advent workshop on Dec 14th and on all the Sundays when we light the Advent wreath, sing the traditional songs of this Advent season, and let Advent wisdom light the way.In faith,

Jenny Rankin

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