Lectionary resources for worship, faith formation, and service
Among family and friends, the conversations these days are similar: “I can’t believe that December starts this weekend! Christmas is just around the corner!” Every year, it seems that the season of Advent takes us all by surprise. It signals a shift in our activities along with a seasonal transition.
Our approach to Advent can have a profound impact on how we feel by the time Christmas arrives. We can treat Advent like a starting line for the race to reach Christmas: “On your mark! Get set! Go!” When we do this, the “destination” becomes an all-consuming focus.
Another approach to Advent is to see it as an invitation to bring intention into our approach to this journey.
We can ask ourselves: What matters most to me this season? What helps me recognize the daily gifts offered during these Advent days? Setting an intention is not the same as setting a goal. The word “intent” comes from the Latin intendere, which means “to stretch forward”.
By setting an intention, we determine how we will move forward.
In our worship for this first Sunday in Advent, we meet Joseph, and hear how his journey with Mary has taken another unexpected turn. In spite of this, he explains that they will be approaching this journey with hope.
The intention of hope will accompany them as they make their way to Bethlehem.
As we set our intention for Advent, we recognize that unexpected interruptions and events are likely to arrive. Like Joseph and Mary, we will also encounter unforeseen circumstances during these days.
Having an intention for how we approach this season can help us navigate these events like a seasoned traveler, rather than a frenzied sprinter. In doing so, we open up the possibility of new insights and meaningful memories each day along the Advent path, rather than demanding that any given day meet every desire and expectation.