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Preparing for Christmas

Even though I am from California, I’m beginning to love snow. Not only for its beauty, but most of all, for the peaceful silence that it brings, permeating everything.

Deep within each human soul there is also a silence, an inner peace-filled silence that wants to awaken in our hearts. But just like the silence that comes only after the snow falls down from the sky, inner peace comes only after we accept whatever falls down into our lives. Like the earth receiving snow, inner peace is given us only after we embrace what falls into our lives. For even when something comes to us that is cold and painful, it is through saying ‘yes’ to the challenge that peace is possible.

And yet there is so much in us that would hinder this embrace, this ‘yes’ of what is. We are hindered by the temptation to think that what has come down to me is unacceptable, that my life just shouldn’t be this way, that if something hurts it means something is wrong. We are called to always remember that in the eyes of Christ, everything that comes into our lives is an opportunity to get closer to HIM.

Therefore, dear friends, Let us become like the earth in winter and embrace what falls to us from the sky, or like Mary, who humbly receives her will from above, even though it is difficult. Then, just like after snowfall, we will be ready for the Christmas gift, the peace-filled silence of Christ bestowed on our hearts.

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A Prayer for Advent

By Bernhard Eyb

Thou mothering earth
Hast received the live seed
Into the dark
Good shelter of soil.
The mantle of night
Thrown wide over us,
And the sun as it goes
Its swift and short journey,
Speak to our hearts
In warning and promise.
Thou Earth hast borne up
The footsteps of Mary
Journeying patiently
Southwards to Bethlehem;
And the Earth bears us
Today in our travail,
That we may bring forth
Christ in our spirit.
So may we await Him
Sent by the Father
Healer and bringer
Into our being
Of the true gold.

Adam Bittleston, in Meditative Prayers for Today, available at http://www.steinerbooks.org/Books/BookDetail.aspx?productID=264

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Michaelmas Prayer

A meditative prayer by Adam Bittleston

We need in the light of our day
The eternal Light of the Word of God.
When we see with our thoughts this Light
On the path which leads from the cave
Where thinking and seeing our shadows,
Into the fields of life

Into the freedom of the heart—
We shall meet Michael
Who reveals how Christ
Awakens thinking
That it may serve God. Read more

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August

Upon fields and orchards

Growing towards harvest

there look with blessing

The spirits of heaven;

And their gaze searches 

Men’s hearts for ripening.

In the close weaving

Of manifold fates 

Read more

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Celebrating Advent with Children

Advent is a blessed and magical time of year and children experience this deeply. Building a family ritual around Advent helps to slow down our busy lives, bring a special moment into the day, and prepare our hearts for the coming of the Christ Child at Christmas.  

Each night of Advent, families can gather around an Advent wreath to sing a song, light the candles on the wreath, and recite a verse in a simple, meaningful celebration. Reading an Advent story (such as those in The Christmas Story Book published by Floris books) is another element one can add to the evening tradition. Each week of Advent an additional candle is lighted on the wreath until at the 4th Sunday, all four candles stand glowing.

Verse for Lighting the Advent Wreath

The first light of Advent
Is the light of stones.
The light that shines in seashells,
Crystals and in bones.

Read more