Preparing Our Hearts for Advent

By Rev. Amy P. Turner, Head Chaplain

Advent begins this year on Sunday, Dec. 3. Advent is the church season that ends with Jesus’ joyous arrival on Christmas.

It is about preparing – preparing yourself for the arrival of Jesus. Whenever we prepare for the arrival of a guest, there is work we do around the house in order to make their room ready for them. If you do not have a designated guest room, then you will need to clean out the room, clean up any clutter, and move things around. You vacuum, dust, and clean the bathroom. You get clean sheets out to make the bed, and set out clean towels in the bathroom. Sometimes we have to run to the grocery store to get either extra food or special food for meals. The work of preparing for a guest is not necessarily a quick process, not something that can be done in a few minutes, but it takes a bit of time and some thoughtfulness, making sure to plan and accommodate for your guests’ needs and preferences.

Preparing for Advent is a similar process. Each year we walk through the four weeks of Advent knowing the baby Jesus will soon be coming, but we cannot welcome him into our hearts and homes if we have not taken the time to prepare a room for him. We have four weeks to intentionally clean up our hearts and lives, to be reminded of the importance of the task. It cannot happen overnight. The birth of Jesus is a holy mystery that requires time spent over four weeks to prepare and begin to enter fully into the joy and excitement of what is coming.

Advent gives us four weeks of intentional time to prepare ourselves, our hearts, our minds, our souls, and our bodies for Jesus’ arrival – to prepare ourselves for the arrival of the best guest we can have visit us – Jesus. To take time to clean out the clutter in the rooms of our lives, lay out clean sheets for him to spend time in our hearts and minds, and invite him to stop, sit down, catch up on everything happening in our lives – the sadnesses that weigh down our souls and hearts, and the joys that lighten our moods and bring happiness to our lives.

I invite each of you to spend time this Advent preparing for Jesus’ arrival. Below are some suggestions:

  1. #AdventWord#AdventWord is the world’s first crowd-sourced global Advent Calendar that asks Christians to pray over a word and meditation and respond with an image on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram.
  1. “Advent in full color” bookletBooklet with weekly readings, mediations, prayers, and practices for individuals and families for each of the four weeks of Advent including designs to color on each page. Booklets can be picked up at Upper School office.
  1. Advent Paper ChainsCreate paper chains using the digital downloads that count down to Christmas. Each day the family removes a piece of the chain and use the scripture for family devotions and the theme as a focus for prayer. There are two versions: Advent Chains and Names of Jesus Chain.