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a very simple Advent 2016

This year I’ve put together a practice for Advent that is very simple. It is built around the idea of giving and receiving gifts. You can do this alone or along with others (including and especially children!). If you miss a day, that’s ok… I suggest you find a consistent place where you can do your reading, daily practice, and leave your gift box/jar.

This is what I am using myself this year and it’s a gift for you. It’s free and you are welcome to share it with as many others as you like.

click here for the downloadable/printable PDF

What you need:
Bible
A candle
A box or jar
Scraps of paper

Reading:
We are taking the approach of slow, repetitive, meditative reading. There is one scripture passage for each week. Therefore, you can read it in small amounts each day/when you read or you can choose to read the entire passage (or parts thereof) several times during the week.

For the week beginning 27 November, read Matthew chapters 1-2

For the week beginning 4 December, read John 1:1-18

For the week beginning 11 December, read Luke chapter 1

For the week beginning 18 December, read Luke chapter 2

Daily practice:
You might choose to do your reading before or after this daily practice

* Light candle – a reminder that this is a special time and season of focusing on God’s gifts.
* Think of one gift you are thankful for today. Write or draw a picture or symbol of this on a scrap of paper.
* Pray for a specific person, situation, or place – what gift do you want to ask God for them? Write or draw a picture or symbol of this on a scrap of paper.
* Place both scraps of paper in your jar or box. As you progress through Advent you will be able to see the gift grow.
* If you are doing this with others, you might choose to talk and pray about some of these gifts with one another.
* When you are done with your time, blow out the candle.

You might want to also decorate your jar or box. When you are done, it could go under your Christmas tree or in a visible place to recognise THESE gifts you have received and given during this Advent season.

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More to the Story

Reflecting on Mary coming to the tomb that first Easter morning and having God reveal an entirely different reality than she could imagine. She came to tend to Jesus’ dead body – he wasn’t there – he was alive.

May we all experience God’s surprising miracles and mercies today and every day. We need God to do what we can not.

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bombs and refugees

Where to start?
Bombings in Paris worried me (had friends in the area, and well, lots of other people I don’t know who also were in danger). And I am also concerned about bombings, kidnappings, and mass murders in other places. Yes, they take place on a daily basis and are all horrible. Should they all get as much attention as Paris? Yes. Do they? No. And that sucks too. It’s not going to change (media hype and money and western/northern bias aren’t going away). Can’t we find a way to NOT have to say, “so what about Paris, what about…?” I guess I am advocating for the word AND to get away from the need to diminish one tragedy to highlight another. For example, one could say, “I am concerned about the seeming increase in global violence perpetuated by ISIL, AND I am aware of the fact that Boko Haram is actually responsible for more deaths but they are in Africa so don’t get as much press.”

And I am also wondering about refugees, especially Syrian refugees.

  • Do these people need somewhere to go to escape the war in their country? Yes.
  • Are refugees a burden on a country they enter? Yes.
  • Can there be potential terrorist hidden among refugees? Yes.
  • Can there be doctors and school teachers hidden among refugees? Yes.
  • Does God say we should love others, including taking care of strangers and enemies? Yes.
  • Does God say to take care of aliens in your land? Yes.
  • Can we love and care for people in need (refugees, homeless, sick, poor) in any number of ways – being generous and creative, not neglecting others at the same time? Yes.

It’s never simple.

paris-beirut

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Love Letters

I am finding Text Graphics to be a good and fairly easy way to remind myself and others of the types of truths King of Hearts is all about. So, thought it would be good to park them all here as well as posting in various other social media. I’m calling them Love Letters because that’s a good description of their purpose and because it sounds better than “sacred text graphics” or “InspoGraphics” (yes, both of those crossed my mind as potential names….)

I’ve creates a “Love Letters” page¬†https://kingofheartsblog.wordpress.com/love-letters/¬† and also if you scroll over Love Letters on the menu you can go directly to each of these.

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