The Harcourt Advent Study/ Reflection Guide 2019
The season of dwindling, then returning, light has come. The days of early snow, visible breath, and frost-covered panes have arrived. They invite a slower pace, a hunkering down and a cocooning. They encourage a closer walk with the people and stories we hold most dear. Before the mystery, we settle in and embrace hope. We engage in practices that loosen the grip of all that holds us back or brings us down. We prepare. We light candles in the dark. We decorate what is ever-green. We sing of new beginnings. We exchange gifts. We recall that the way through shadow and uncertainty involves togetherness and glad sharing. Not knowing when the next growing season will come, we feast. We break bread with family, friends and strangers. We grow pensive, we lean into gratitude and we endeavour to resist the instinct to withdraw. In the heart of advent darkness we turn to one another in love, saying, “Lift up your hearts!”
One of the practices of this season involves taking time for personal study and reflection. There are recommended bible readings for the Sundays of Advent. The texts offer thoughts for us to consider, and connections for us to make, concerning the workings of grace within and around us. Traditionally, these Sundays focus on the themes of hope, peace, joy and love. This year, we are invited to weave the perspectives and concerns of deep ecology into our reflections and practices. We thank the members of our Spiritual Life Committee who have prepared this little study guide for our use. Each week offers a piece of text, a comment and a question for our consideration. May our engagement enrich our experience of the season and strengthen God’s world.