Happy First Sunday of Advent! I think that it is very appropriate that my first real Keeping the Sabbath post is on the first Sunday of the Church year. I love that the Church year doesn’t just start with Christmas, but with a period of time for us to prepare our hearts for Christmas. It makes so much sense- I love the liturgy- but that can be a topic for another post.
This Sunday, here are seven things that are helping me keep the Sabbath:
1. A Song:
O Come, O Come Emmanuel by the Civil Wars
I love when musical artists take traditional beautiful hymns and add their own flair to them. That is my favorite kind of Christmas music, and this song falls into that category. It is also one of the few Christmas songs that I am letting myself listen to this early in December. I LOVE Christmas music…so why am I waiting?
Because Advent is a season of waiting, Catholics (and many other Christians) do not celebrate Christmas for the entire month of December. (They also don’t celebrate Christmas in November or October, contrary to what you see in stores…) We celebrate Advent first for four weeks... we wait, we pray, we prepare. Christmas, the birth of the Christ, was a long awaited event. Think thousands of years. We should be able to stand a few weeks of anticipation each year. Catholics actually celebrate Christmas on…you guessed it…Christmas. That is why you won’t see Catholic churches decorated until after the Sunday Mass preceding Christmas, and why many Catholic homes decorate slowly over the month of December, with maybe only an Advent Wreath until just before Christmas. It is not because Catholics procrastinate. It is because we are trying to remember the story of salvation lived out by Israel as they prepared for the long awaited Messiah. This song helps me remember that.
2. A Verse:
"Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
with the mountains quaking before you,
while you wrought awesome deeds we could not hope for,
such as they had not heard of from of old.
No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you
doing such deeds for those who wait for him."
3. A Quote: "The Son of God became the Son of Man so that the sons of men might become the sons of God." ~St. Athanasius
4. An Image: Sleeping St. Joseph
I love St. Joseph. I love this picture of St. Joseph. He was such a man of action, that God had to speak to him while he was sleeping. Three times. This picture makes me think of what it will take for me to listen to God and do his will.
5. A Blessing:
I had the privilege of sharing dinner with three of my favorite highschoolers this weekend. We ate good food at my apartment, caught up a little on each others lives, and enjoyed some teasing. Mostly aimed at me :) We then went into the big city for a movie...after a lot of deliberation, we ended up seeing this:
It was awesome. Better than Flywheel, Facing the Giants, and Fireproof all added together.
6. An Intention:
Something specific that I will be praying for this week is for the people who will struggle with this Christmas season. What is a time of joy for most of us is a time of pain for others. So I will be praying for healing for all those experiencing or remembering a loss this Christmas.
7. A Challenge:
This week, I will be challenging myself to finally finish this book:
Have a great Sabbath!