Day 6 of Advent: “Holy is His Name”

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
And my spirit exalts in God my Savior.
For He has looked with mercy on my lowliness;
And my name will be forever exalted.
For the mighty God has done great things for me,
And His mercy will reach from age to age.

Holy, holy, holy is His name.

“Holy Is His Name” by John Michael Talbot

This refrain plays repeatedly in my head during the Christmas season. I don’t remember when I first heard it, I don’t even remember the last time I listened to the recording (we had the record when I was a child), I do, however, remember singing it one time at my Uncle’s log cabin in central Wisconsin while doing the holiday dishes. And my mother sang along. She has a beautiful voice and I love harmonizing with her. Years back, well before my parents were divorced, they used to sing together. My dad playing the guitar and mom harmonizing, it seemed like the absolutely perfect thing for a couple to do together and made me feel completely safe. When my parents divorced it felt like I would never have that sense of comfort and warmth again in my life. But, by the grace of God, I do. I have new traditions, including Christmas with my in-laws; a three-day celebration with nights by the fireplace, big dinners, and quizzes solved by family and friends. And still this song runs through my mind filling me with love and hope and thanks. It reminds me of the sacrifices my mother made for me and my siblings as we were growing up. It reminds me of the dreams that I have for the future. It reminds me that no matter what, I have always been taken care of. His mercy does reach from age to age and it encompasses me, and you.

Anna Nugent

Day 5 of Advent: Putting the Christ Back into the Christmas Season

Last year, I joined a small prayer group called the Advent Conspiracy at church.  I was intrigued about the topic, as I am not a “conspiracy theory” kind of person.  I really liked the mission of the Advent Conspiracy:  “It is not enough to say no to the way Christmas is celebrated by many; we need to say yes to a different way of celebrating.”

I started following Advent Conspiracy on Facebook and downloaded the App.  This was something that could help me be more focused on the real meaning of Christmas this year and in the years to come.

Here are the goals of the Advent Conspiracy:

1.  Worship Fully

2.  Spend Less

3.  Give More

4.  Love All

What changed last year for me in Advent?  Last December, my life was in a season of transition with my job changing and an impending move early in January.  I should have been overly stressed.  But somehow, following the Advent Conspiracy goals helped me to focus on the awe of the Advent season.  I found more opportunities to give of my time and my gifts.  I tried to be more loving in my relationships and in my dealings with people around me everyday.  It made a huge difference for me.

“Christmas can still change the world!”  Maybe the Advent Conspiracy could help you with your Advent journey….

Advent Conspiracy

Marcie Doll

Day 4 of Advent: The Work of Advent

“Now I am revealing new things to you

Things hidden and unknown to you

Created just now, this very moment.

Of these things you have heard nothing until now.

So that you cannot say, Oh yes, I knew this.”

Isaiah 48:6-7 from “The Artist’s Rule” by Christine Valters  Painter

Blessings on the work of Advent in your life… in all its newness, and in all its unfamiliarity.   Are we waiting for Advent… or, sometimes… is it waiting for us?

Day 3 of Advent: Random Acts of Kindness

This Advent season, Marble’s staff member Ashley Johnson will be posting an online Advent Calendar: 24 Random Acts of Kindness. Follow her journey of doing little things to give back every day on Facebook.  And if you are inspired to do so, join in and let us know on our Facebook page Marble Collegiate Church how your journey is going!

“Becoming a mother this year made me think about traditions that I want to begin, or continue, with my little one as he grows older and begins to understand the season. I wanted to find something we could do to grow together as a family. Teaching him about empathy towards others and being kind is an important lesson and one I need to remind myself of sometimes. Inspired by a Pinterest post I pinned when I was curating Marble’s Christmas board, I decided to make an Advent calendar that instead of getting or being introspective, made me think and grow by doing and giving. It didn’t need to be full of big gestures, just something small and doable, a butterfly flap of the wing that could perhaps create a bigger change for someone else and maybe even me.

You are welcome to participate along with me as I pull a directive for a new act of kindness out of the Advent calendar on my door each day until Christmas. I’ll be photo documenting and sharing my journey on Facebook and I hope that you’ll join me in this and share your experiences and photos with me of how your 24 acts of kindness unfold over Advent. I’m excited to share how I hope to be making a small difference and I look forward to hearing from you on how you decide to fulfill the suggested action selected each day!”

-Ashley Johnson

In keeping with the season, it’s nice to be reminded that in little acts of kindness, we can make a big difference in someone’s day.

Day 2 of Advent: What are you waiting for?

“Advent” is from the word “to come,” and while it is a reminder of the coming of Jesus into the world, then and now, this season also asks to look into our hearts and to ask:  What is coming into our lives? Where is the longing?

There is ground in all of us that needs to be prepared for whatever new is coming.  Advent calls us to the work of receptivity… of emptying out.   In the story of the Annunciation, the angel coming to Mary with astounding news, she “makes room,” literally and metaphorically, for new life, for surprise, for an upending of life as she knew it.

One of the paradoxes of Advent is that it asks us to be open and receptive, to make room…and it also has a theme of waiting, of preparation.  For many of us, none of these inner and outer tasks are easy… but to do them at the same time?  That can seem particularly hard.

Advent’s invitations will be different for each of us.  Maybe the first step is to become aware of some of these summonses… and to ponder in your heart where you are asked to co-create with God during this season of surprise.

Some questions to get you started:

Do you know what you are waiting for, if anything, at this time in your life?  The Advent season is both inner and outer… your soul may have a surprising answer if you ask it:  “What are we waiting for, hoping for….”   Try journaling on this during Advent this year.

My hunch is, we are not called to wait for the same old, same old.  In waiting itself is a call, a need for openness—perhaps radical openness.

What gestation, that can’t be rushed, are you waiting for?  Where do you need to enter the crucible of your own life, or the life of another, or a place of need in the world?

What do you need to clear out… to make room for what?

As you wait, can you at the same time be open to surprise?  Advent, like all the mysterious church seasons, has many aspects, and can bring both shadow and light.  And sometimes what we receive in these times is not what we hoped for, but something else.  When this happens, Advent waiting rests on our response, our prayerful reaction to the unimaginably new.

One of my favorite translations of this Isaiah verse speaks to me of Advent:

“It isn’t always about amassing things or receiving accolades. Jesus taught that the essence of happy living is Love – knowing how to receive it and how to extend it. “This  is My commandment, that you love one another.” Love and Joy are inextricably bound.” –Dr. Brown

Nina H. Frost

First Day of Advent

Advent is a season of preparation; expectant waiting to celebrate the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. Wikipedia defines the term as an Anglicized version of the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming”.

Sometimes, I wonder how we ‘ring in’ Advent as compared to Christmas with all the ‘busyness’ responding to commercial ads thrown at us on a daily basis. I recall how advent was celebrated in a culture where I grew up as a child and teenager so many, many years ago. I try to compare the celebration of Advent with our culture In the States.

We got ourselves prepared spiritually as a family. We turned to the Word. Without all the distractions of the American Holiday Extravaganza, we were able to focus a bit more on what Advent meant to us as Christians. Reading what the prophets foretold about the coming of the Messiah always paved the way for a deeper understanding about what it meant to ‘expect’.  We were reminded that as we waited we should look for His presence in our daily lives – not the future but right now because of the certainty of His return. I feel exceptionally blessed having had the privilege to have experienced and shared the Advent season with families and friends in so many. The tradition is universal.

Agatha Pratt

Welcome to Marble Women’s Ministry Advent Blog

The Marble Women’s Ministry Leadership Team and some wonderful guests will share their prayers, thoughts, favorite memories and gifts through a daily Advent blog.  The season of Advent is filled with a flurry of activities, so much so that we may lose sight of the real meaning of the season.  The team wants to renew the hope of the expectant birth of Christ. Come share our prayerful and creative journey to Christmas.

Marcie Doll and the Marble Women’s Ministry

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