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Franciscan Spirit Blog

The Gifts of Advent Day 4: Glorious Abundance for the Senses

Dec 1, 2021
The Gifts of Advent, Glorious Abundance for the Senses

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. 
—Isaiah 25:6


Every culture has special holiday foods and this becomes a big part of our experience of the festive season. We immerse ourselves in a sensual celebration of Advent and Christmas. Instead of being overwhelmed by this, let yourself take time to notice and truly appreciate the sights and sounds, aromas and tastes of the season.

For me, music is the first sign of the season. I like to start with the Windham Hill Winter Solstice collections and George Winston’s December. They don’t scream “CHRISTMAS!” but they instantly evoke the sounds of the season, partly because I’ve made them part of my yearly observance. An instrumental rendition of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” or the “Carol of the Bells” begins to seep quietly into my consciousness.

Collections by the St. Louis Jesuits, Marty Haugen, and others bring the Scriptures of the season to life and allow a quiet reflection on the liturgical side of the season. “Advent Lessons and Carols” from the Anglican tradition is another of my staples. For many people, the season isn’t complete without Handel’s “Messiah.” And many people prefer the familiar Christmas carols to put them in the spirit. Often our musical choices take us back to what spoke to us of Christmas in our childhood years or in other formative times.

I also wait for the first taste of eggnog and then the aroma of Christmas cookies baking in the oven. My sister makes special candy for Christmas and I love it when a box of goodies arrives in the mail. I can taste the love that goes into it. There’s no reason these things can’t happen at other times of the year. But connecting them with Advent and Christmas somehow makes them seem special. Like eating seasonally with the local harvest, we appreciate things more when we don’t have them all the time.

When I was a child, one of the first things that happened was the appearance of the box of Christmas books to replace the books I read (or was read to) the rest of the year. Old favorites and a few new ones were very much part of my Christmas tradition and I now have my own collection of Advent and Christmas reading.


Support the friars this Advent!

Take a Deep Breath

As you practice your breathing today, reflect on these words from Psalm 23:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.

A Simple Gift

Make an Advent/Christmas playlist. Music is a big part of most of our experiences of Christmas. The right music can be a perfect background for a quiet appreciation of Advent. Everyone has different taste in music; use what works for you.


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Comments

Toni Burns
Wed, 12/01/2021 - 08:06 AM
Toni Burns
I serve God as an Episcopalian, but I so, so appreciate your meditations! We are One under God. We are One. Thank you!
Franciscan Media
Wed, 12/01/2021 - 08:19 AM
Franciscan Media
We're glad you're here, Toni! 
Daisyj
Wed, 12/01/2021 - 10:37 AM
Daisyj
Blessings to you and you loved ones. I so agree. Hallelujah from Heaven and Earth. Daisy J
Sr Maria Remedios, SPC
Wed, 12/01/2021 - 07:11 PM
Sr Maria Remedios, SPC
Thank you, Fr. , I am from the Philippines, and we have a very rich tradition of how we prepare and celebrate for the Christmas season. The Filipinos are very religious people, we have a novena of masses called misa de gallo in preparation for the 9 days and a "Panunuluyan" at the end. It symbolizes on Christmas Eve midnight mass, a re -enactment of the Blessed Mother knocking at the doors of our hearts and looking for an inn to stay, Each parish then has a Nativity Scene, of which the light would be open at the strat of the mass/singing of Gloria in Excelsis Deo - very rich liturgy all throughout.
Norma Loch
Wed, 12/01/2021 - 09:04 AM
Norma Loch
We had a horrific school shooting yesterday in Michigan. As I stood under the shower this morning I sang the words The Lord is Our Shepherd over and over to pray and remember all the families hurting. I then read these words here and felt as though God reached out and said I AM HERE with all. Thank you and please pray for the dead, those injured, the hurting families and the accused.
Franciscan Media
Wed, 12/01/2021 - 09:06 AM
Franciscan Media
Yes, Norma! We pray every morning at 9:30 ET. We will continue to keep you all in our hearts and prayers.
Daisy
Wed, 12/01/2021 - 10:42 AM
Daisy
My heart and soul cry to God to help all of us. Our World hurts to the core. We must have Faith that God is guiding all.
NDiane Prince
Wed, 12/01/2021 - 11:34 AM
NDiane Prince
On this mountain he will remove the mourning veil covering all peoples, and the shroud enwrapping all nations, he will destroy Death for ever. The Lord will wipe away the tears from every cheek; he will take away his people’s shame everywhere on earth, for the Lord has said so. I am so sorry to hear of this recent horror. I have been so wrapped up in the flooding occurring in my home province that I have missed opportunities to pray for others who are suffering. May the dead rest in peace and may the living find peace somehow. Diane
Sandra A. Martinez
Wed, 12/01/2021 - 09:53 AM
Sandra A. Martinez
Psalms 23 says it all "Because the Lord is my Shepherd,I have everything I need! He lets me rest in the meadow grass and leafs me beside the quiet stream. He restores my soul,he helps me do what honors him the most. Even when walking through the darkest valley of death I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me guarding me guiding me all the way." Let us keep those who are experiencing death or suffering let them remember God will help you through these difficult days. Let us keep focus on his blessings overflowing with 💕 LOVE. Let us be reminded that in our worst moments of our lives God will carry us through it only we must seek and find him. Prayers🙏to all Amen
Trish Mak
Wed, 12/01/2021 - 12:55 PM
Trish Mak
These are wonderful meditations. Thank you so very much for sharing your thoughts and reflections as we all prepare again for Christ's coming. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel! Praying for those suffering in loss and for all those recently deceased.
ANTHONY BIANCHI
Wed, 12/01/2021 - 03:43 PM
ANTHONY BIANCHI
I think I've found my kindred spirit! I too start this season with the Windham Hill Solstice series and George Winston's December. The melodies are beautiful and the collection is a wonderful alternative to the more commercial music we typically hear this time of year. Happy Advent!
Yana Adkinson
Thu, 12/02/2021 - 10:39 AM
Yana Adkinson
Thank you very much for the meditations and music suggestions! I now have new Advent favorites playlist. Many Blessings to you!
Moira
Thu, 12/02/2021 - 05:18 PM
Moira
your blogs remind me that singing can be my form of praying and getting a childhood round (Dona nobis pacem) repeating in my brain throughout the day helps my breathing, focus and mindfulness. thank you

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