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There are some things we experience that are special enough to share year after year because they personify the spirit of Christmas. This story has become one of those experiences for me. Its purity and simplicity are elegant.
During the week before Christmas, two years ago, a delightful young couple with four daughters ranging then from 2 to 8 years old, created a Christmas labyrinth, a spiral path about twelve feet in diameter inside a yurt, for protection against the winds and snow. The path was marked with small rocks gathered by the family on their daily walks.
The girls described the intention of the spiral with an innocence and enthusiasm that was contagious: As they told it, each of us walking around the spiral to its center, where we lit our candles, were bringing love into our hearts, which would go out and light the world. As we reversed our direction and followed the spiral to its exit, we were to place our candles among the rocks with special intentions. Throughout, Silent Night was hummed in the background.
If you choose to do this, also explain to adults that when entering the spiral, they will be walking counter-clockwise, a direction used for releasing what is no longer beneficial in their lives. While walking in this direction, each adult may silencing release something they wish to let go. During the clockwise walk the focus is on a positive behavior or aim, hope or dream to replace what was released.
The spiral journey can be done anytime during Advent, but has traditionally been done at midnight, as Christmas eve wanes and choirs of angels are said to sing in reverence for the birth of The Newborn King. (Enya has a beautiful CD that describes that in song Journey of the Angels on a CD entitled And Winter Came on a CD)
WATCH FOR TWO AUDIO IMAGERY EXERCISES OF THIS RITUAL, ONE FOR CHILDREN AND ONE FOR ADULTS ON FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14,2012
ANTICIPATE CHRISTMAS WITH AN ADVENT WREATH
A simple, but meaningful Christmas ritual is to honor each week of Advent with a devotion using a wreath as its focus. Purchase a natural evergreen wreath–or make your own from tree cuttings. Place the wreath on your dining table with a pale blue candle, adding another candle each week until there are four. On each Sunday in Advent, before the evening meal, light the candle(s) and have a family member or guest read an Advent prayer for that particular Sunday…or do the Imagery exercise for that week recorded below.
You’ll also find Advent prayers on Google where there are several links to Advent 2012 devotions from many Christian denominations.
If you decide to do either of these rituals or create your own variation of them—or if you’d like to share a personal Advent tradition–tell us about it in the Comment section. Others will enjoy hearing what you’ve done and may get ideas that they too will adopt.
NOW FOR OUR ADVENT NARRATIVE WITH AUDIO IMAGERY (These exercises are not designed for young children. Adults may use these narratives and/or Imagery as their Advent Wreath Prayers)
The Annunciation By The Apostle Luke – Week One Sun Dec 2, 2012
In the city of Nazareth, a virgin named Mary was betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph. One day, the Angel Gabriel came to Mary and said, “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with thee.” The Angel continued, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son. He will be great, and be called Son of the Most High…”
CLICK AND LISTEN IMAGERY (ADVENT ONE, DECEMBER 2, 2012)
Close your eyes and breathe out three times. See, feel, sense, know and live as Mary. Recognize your qualities as a young woman and imagine your feelings at hearing the news from the Angel Gabriel that you have been chosen to be the mother of Jesus………Breathe out one time and open your eyes.
Annunciation Narrative Continues (Advent, Week 1, December 2, 2012)
And Mary said to the Angel Gabriel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” And the Angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.” The Angel Gabriel went on to tell Mary that her cousin, Elizabeth, in her eighties and barren, also was to bear a son to be named John (the Baptist) for with God nothing is impossible. Mary consented and the Angel Gabriel departed.
CLICK AND LISTEN IMAGERY (ADVENT WEEK TWO, DECEMBER 9, 2012)
Close your eyes and breathe out three times. See, feel, sense and listen as Mary consents to be the mother of the infant, who at birth is named Jesus, saying, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” At that moment, the heavens make preparations for Jesus to be conceived by Mary through the Holy Spirit………Breathe out one time and open your eyes.
Mary’s Visit to Elizabeth – Advent, Week Three, December 16, 2012
Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country of Judah to visit her cousin Elizabeth. When hearing Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed to Mary, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leapt for joy.”
CLICK AND LISTEN IMAGERY (ADVENT WEEK THREE, DEC. 16, 2012)
Close your eyes and breathe out three times. See, sense and hear Mary’s feelings in her words to Elizabeth, “My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden, for behold, henceforth, all generations will call me blessed.” Imagine how this life-changing event is for the young Virgin Mary……….Breathe out one time and open your eyes.
Our next presentation will include The Birth of Jesus, The Shepherds Watching Their Flocks and The Visit of the Magi. Watch for it on or before December 23. 2012.
Blessings in this beautiful holiday season, Barbarah
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