I remember the anticipation of Christmas in my childhood, marked by various traditions: putting up our artificial tree, baking cut out sugar cookies with my mom, and listening to the Home Alone soundtrack repeatedly on cassette tape. However, I don’t recall hearing much about Advent other than a vague recollection of special candles on those few December Sundays we attended church. I never quite could keep track of the symbolism behind each candle and the colors represented.
Now as an adult, worshipping in a more liturgical tradition, Advent has become a significant season for me, a time for anticipating something more than just the presents I longed for as a child. Each year I consider how to prepare my whole self as the calendar shifts from Ordinary Time to the season of Advent, feeling a longing for the hope of God with us, Emmanuel. My internal soul preparation can swing like a pendulum from doing nothing at all to making lofty spiritual goals that can’t quite be attained no matter the efforts.
Many of us are looking for ways to steer away from the “big commercial racket” of Christmas, as Lucy VanPelt would call it. And in the midst of the semester-end busyness, it can feel even more impossible to incorporate spiritual practices into our waiting. In these two special Advent podcast episodes from 2018, women from different Christian traditions and roles in academia share about the personal and communal Advent practices that help them experience the hope of Jesus’s birth. We hope you’ll glean something from these wise and faithful women as we enter this season of waiting together.
originally published November 29, 2018
originally published December 13, 2018