Perhaps the beauty of Advent is that it is an invitation to quiet reflection and intentional waiting in the middle of turbulent times.
In so many Christmas seasons past, it was all systems go.
Do all the things. Ignore all the limits.
Run, do, make, bake, volunteer, give, support, decorate.
But it was important to do something intentional to focus on Jesus and not all the activities, as beautiful as those are. To rest in His love and experience the discomfort of longings that have not yet come to pass.
There was a desire for an activity where I could focus in on being quiet for a little bit, focus on a few verses several times a week and create something that would be a marker for this journey.
As I was wrapping up the Christmas Collective into a permanent course the week of Thanksgiving, the idea for a simple, weekly Advent painting came to my heart.
The Christmas Collective Summit was absolutely wonderful, but in all the planning and preparing, I hadn’t done my own painting and creative work in a few weeks (isn’t that how we are at Christmas? Creating for everyone else and wanting to get in on the fun too?).
I could tell jumping into a BIG project wasn’t going to work.
But again, the gift of Advent.
It’s not about performance. Or doing something 30 days in a row. Or showing up with all the boxes checked off.
It’s about showing up and waiting.
Feeling the discomfort of waiting and unmet desires.
Worshipping the Savior and feeling His presence regardless of what kind of year it’s been.
Preparing our hearts.
I hope you are spending a few minutes each week practicing, preparing, and enjoying the grace and gift of Advent.
Like many of you, I was not raised in a liturgical church. Advent was something I accidentally came upon in my late twenties. The practice and origin piqued my curiosity, but it was probably when I began to listen to Ruth Haley Barton and her practices in stillness (sooooo hard for me) and podcast episodes on Advent that I started really celebrating each year.
In Advent Jesus and I spend time together. I need the reminder to do more listening than talking.
I created these weekly painting sessions as a simple way to calm down my busy brain and settle my heart into some listening. Painting helps calm my interior down a bit so I can listen and pray with focused attention.
If you’d like to join along, I go live on Facebook each Monday evening.
However, if you are on the email list, you’ll receive the links to the full recordings in the email to watch on your own time and off social media.
The paintings are simple.
I designed the projects to be simple so that we will not get caught up in the technical part of painting, but instead, play with the paint and sketch and allow our hearts and minds to get caught up in Jesus and the verses for the week.
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It would be an honor to share the celebration of Advent with you this year.
And, if you didn’t get a chance to attend the Christmas Collective live, it’s available here. The Christmas Collective summit is completely free. There are 22 workshops featuring everything from watercolor workshops to Advent activities to tips on decorating with a fun flair (I loved Annika’s tips on a Christmas cocoa cart the whole family can enjoy). Find everything here.