Advent Reflections

green and brown christmas wreath

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…” Somehow, the first half of December seems to have been completely swallowed up in an inexplicable end-of-year time warp and we’re already more than halfway through Advent! It’s such a restorative season, and this Advent in particular has been exactly what I needed at the end of a very, VERY long year. I love the quiet waiting and hopeful expectation that Advent brings, but I can’t wait for the unbounded joy of Christmas–and after all, what better reason is there to celebrate? I hope you all have had a restful, peaceful, joyful, and hopeful Advent as well!

What I’m Reading

Devotional

For my spiritual reading this Advent, I chose Pope Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives. In the past, I’ve used devotionals created specifically for Advent (like the ones from Blessed is She), but this year I wanted something more flexible, that I could read slowly and return to in future years. The book was slimmer than I expected, but it does not disappoint–in fact, it’s completely blown my mind. Simply put, it’s an exposition and interpretation of the Scripture passages relating to Christ’s conception, birth, and early childhood, and it’s fantastic. I highly recommend.

Advent Poetry

I follow the lovely Sarah Clarkson on Instagram for literary tidbits and musings on the intellectual life, and during Advent she has been reading a poem aloud every day and saving the recordings to IGTV. It’s a genius idea, since reading poetry is the perfect way to slow down and prepare a quiet space in our hearts for Christ’s coming. (Does anyone else find that they need to read poetry slowly–and more than once–to fully absorb it’s meaning?) Anyhow, one of the poems in particular struck me deeply and I wanted to share it here.

What I’m Listening To

Music

I’m not a huge music person, but of course I make an exception for Advent and Christmas music! My favorite Advent music of all time is the album Advent at Ephesus, by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles. It’s a hauntingly beautiful collection of hymns (in English and Latin) that inevitably get stuck in my head–which means my poor family has to put up with listening to me hum ALL DAY LONG. At least it’s seasonally appropriate, I guess?

Podcasts

I’ve also been listening to the Abiding Together Podcast’s Advent series, focused on Our Blessed Mother’s roles as a model of holiness and as our spiritual mother, and loving it every bit as much as I always do. You can find the all podcast episodes for Advent here.

Well, that’s it for now, friends. I wish you all a prayerful rest of Advent, and a Christmas filled with joy!