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Let this Advent guide welcome you into its rhythm of preparation as we remember the long wait for Christ’s birth at Bethlehem, recognize Christ in our midst and in ourselves, and look toward the time when the world is fully grounded in the peace of Christ. 

Advent 4 (Week of Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018)
Peace

Read: Philippians 4:4–7 & Micah 5:2–5a

Reflect: How do you let your gentleness (grace, peace, compassion) be known to everyone?

Practice: Peace | Find a place where you feel safe. Sit down and release any tension from your body. Focus on your breathing—in and out. Breathe in the hope of Christ as the one of peace. Breathe out that peace into the world. It could be helpful to write down how Christ gives you peace and how you can bring peace to the world. Continue this for several minutes. What clarity came from the peace that flowed through you?

Advent 3 (Week of Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018)
Sing Aloud

Read:
Zephaniah 3:14–20 & Isaiah 12:2–6

Reflect: What makes you sing for joy and gratitude with all your heart?

Practice: Taizé | God is rejoicing in our midst, inviting us to join our voices in chorus. Meditative singing can help us to sing for joy while also listening for the Divine and those threads of unity. The hundreds of songs of Taizé are written for this kind of prayer, meant to be sung over and over until the words permeate your body and soul. These can be sung from The United Methodist Hymnal:

Advent 2 (Week of Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018)
The Way

Read:
Malachi 3:1–4 & Luke 3:1–6

Reflect: “Prepare” is the word that echoes in the wilderness. Do the words that echo in your life restore you or deplete you?

Practice: Labyrinth | Journey St. Paul’s outdoor labyrinth on the corner of Binz and Main or find another labyrinth in our city. As you enter, set an intention, ask a question, pray an echoing word, or just ask to hear. Labyrinths are not mazes; there is a path in and a path out, and no right way to experience the path. Labyrinths can give us movement when we do not know where The Way is, or where it is taking us.

Advent 1 (Week of Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018)
Look

Read:
1 Thessalonians 3:9–13 & Luke 21:25–36

Reflect: Where are you missing signs of wholeness and hope because you are overwhelmed or desensitized by witnessing brokenness and discouragement?

Practice: Attention | Find somewhere to sit (familiar or new). Look at the details around you. Note concerns that may come to you. Then, focus your gaze on a blank spot or close your eyes. Listen to the details around you. Notice the perspective and imagination that comes to you. Look again at the details around you. What are 5 noticings that give you hope?