Archives: Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway? #10
God Is Coming!
A Calendar Through Advent to Epiphany
Choose a cause or organization to support with money you collect while using this calendar. Decorate a can to hold the money. View this money not as a penalty or a fine but as an aid to our need to help others. Offer the money on Epiphany, the day the Three Wise Ones offered their gifts to Jesus.
Go through the calendar with at least one Advent Partner, face-to-face or by phone. A partner could be a friend or someone you've wanted to get to know better, someone for support. And if a partner is a child, an adult can help teach and serve as a role model. Adults, give $1 for each day you read the calendar without your Advent Partner.
This calendar corresponds to liturgical Cycle C (Luke).
November 30: Advent I - Read & meditate on Jer. 33:14-16; Ps. 25:1-10; 1 Thess. 3:9-13; Luke 21:25-36. Before each reading, pray, "Thank you, God, for Holy Scripture."
December 1 - Jesus did not return in glory as soon as the early church expected. We now must always be ready for the end of time and at the same time take the "long view." Name at least one specific way to be a disciple of Jesus in the way we treat others and the Earth?
2 - How does American culture urge us to live "the short view"? Easy credit, excessive use of non-renewable resources. Make your own list. Donate $1 for each item you use from the list.
3 - This year, instead of buying a "fresh" cut or an artificial "permanent" tree, procure a "live" Christmas tree, one that you can plant later in your yard or a public place. Or decorate a large house plant.
4 - If poinsettias are part of your celebration, plan to "winter them over" after Christmas. Dormant plants, like hibernating animals, live on their stored fat. Let their dormancy remind us to use and share our excess, not to hoard, throw away or waste it.
5 - Make a simple plan for long-term personal care, including physical, mental and spiritual aspects. Vow to replace harmful habits with healthy ones and implement one change today.
6 - Repentance may mean reevaluation, even deprivation. Replace a short term activity like TV viewing with an activity than could mean long term commitment and long term results, such as a service project.
7: Advent II - Read & meditate on Mal. 3:1-4; Luke 1:68-79; Phil. 1:3-11; Luke 3:1-6. Before each reading, pray, "Thank you, God, for forgiving our sins through Jesus."
8 - Repentance means to make clean. "Cleaning up" ourselves is not an easy process. List five things about yourself you need to "clean-up." Implement one today.
9 - How does American culture urge us to live and clean-up quickly, conveniently? Toxic chemicals, quick diet plans... Make your own list. Donate $1 for each item you use from the list.
10 - Unless we reduce stress, many of us will burn-out. Make a list of the activities that take your time and energy, including family and church. Prioritize the list. Drop at least one.
11 - Stress accumulates and eventually may cause painful, debilitating symptoms. Listen to your body. Is it trying to tell you something about your lifestyle?
12 - Crises - serious debt, heart-attack, even clothes that don't fit anymore - cause re-evaluation. Take one step now to prevent a crisis while being open to re-evaluation.
13 - Be alert to lists of "helpful household tips" which intend to save time but may really urge us to spend more time caring for our stuff.
14: Advent III - Read & meditate on Zeph. 3:14-20; Isa. 12:2-6; Phil. 4:4-7; Luke 3:7-18. Before each reading, pray, "Thank you, God, for other Christians."
15 - Rejoice in small events. Marvel at the crunch of snow. Behold light beautifully refracting through ice crystals. Don't make a list - just be open and aware of small pleasures.
16 - Don't save celebrating just for "big" events - traditional holidays and rites of passage. Be open to celebrating ANY time. Ask, "What ELSE can we do on Friday night?"
17 - At supper, for a week, name three things that happened that day that made each person happy. Write them down. At the end of the week, read them all aloud. Donate 25¢ for each memory that still makes you happy.
18 -Time is "wasted" only if we allow it to be. Don't be annoyed by TV commercials and waiting "on hold." Relax, breath deeply, meditate. Or share with someone near you - a joke, a child-rearing idea, a prayer request.
19 - Share a "security blanket" with a child in a shelter by making a quilt from strips of old, worn clothes.
20 - Share a skill. Teach a child to garden or bake, a teenager to do home repairs or prepare taxes.
21: Advent IV - Read & reflect on the Promises in Micah 5:2-5a; Luke 1:47-55 or Ps. 80:1-7; Heb. 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-45 (46-55). Before each reading, pray, "Thank you, God, for all of Creation."
22 - At a time when the infant survival rate was low, it was a moment of joy for Mary to be promised her child's survival. Infant survival is still low in some places. What can we do to help infants and children survive and flourish... to fulfill their promise?
23 - Mary sacrificed herself, her humanity, her reputation by allowing God to use her body. We make sacrifices when we allow Jesus to come into our lives. Are we ready for the "cost of discipleship" instead of the "cost of Christmas"?
24: Christmas Eve - Read and meditate on Isa. 9:2-7; Ps. 96; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-4 (15-20). Wear a white garment to remind yourself of the purity of life that Jesus made possible.
25: Christmas Day - Read and meditate on Isa. 52:7-10; Ps. 98; Heb. 1:1-4 (5-12); John 1:1-14. Remembering the unsanitary conditions that Mary and Jesus endured, donate baby toiletries or clothing to an agency for the benefit of single mothers.
26 - Like John the Baptist, "testify to the Light." Take a "love loaf" or other food to someone lonely you know. Attach a card signed "Peace in Jesus' name" or "Jesus is the Light of the World."
27 - Do you feel uncomfortable socially or at work because of your Christian beliefs? Do you struggle not to be drawn into conformity? Accept and learn from the discomfort. It may lead you to more confidence in your faith.
28: Christmas I (The Holy Innocents) - Read and meditate on 1 Sam. 2:18-20, 26; Luke 2:41-52. Volunteer to read a story about responsible living and celebrating to a child, a neighbor or in a classroom.
29 - Ponder Col. 3:12-17. To aid the mutual respect of children and parents, recognize the difference between discipline and abuse.
30 - Holding a grudge? Before year end, write a note forgiving the other and asking for forgiveness. (You may or may not deliver the note to aid your change of heart.) Or begin speaking to someone you've been avoiding.
31: New Year's Eve - Rather than reciting slogans of wishful thinking in your mind, repeat the Jesus' Prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me... have mercy on us." It will help in time of need and self-evaluation.
January 1: New Year's Day - Read Ps. 148. In gratitude for another year, learn to say to yourself or aloud with ease, "Praise the Lord" or "Thank you, Jesus."
2 - Visualize yourself talking to God face-to-face. Name five blessings in your life that are not things. Donate a generous amount for each.
3 - Acknowledge all Creation as God's. Vow not to abuse Creation. See God's work in Nature, even in the dead of winter. Find one thing to be thankful for, such as a sunrise or sunset.
4: Christmas II - Read and meditate on Jer. 31: 7-14; Ps. 147: 12-20; John 1:10-18. Think back to a time when God was clearly with you - guiding, supporting - even if you weren't aware of it then.
5 - Ponder Ep. 1:3-14. God lavishes forgiveness on us. Let's be generous to others with time and kindness, not with stuff.
6: Epiphany - Matt. 2:1-12; Ep. 3:1-12. Who are the "Gentiles," the outsiders, in our lives? Whom are we to welcome? Who in our community is unwelcome because of ethnic background, class or tradition? (Continued)
More Epiphany - What small steps can we take to stop hindering them? Then what can we do to welcome them into our community and church?
Copyright Creative Commons (originally Alternatives)
Make as many copies as you choose on a not-for-profit basis.
Simple Living Works! * SimpleLivingWorks@Yahoo.com
BLOG: SimpleLivingWorks.WordPress.com | Blog INDEX
PODCAST | Podcast INDEX
MISSION: Equipping people of faith to challenge consumerism, live justly and celebrate responsibly // An all volunteer educational organization.