I wasn't going to do an Advent series this year.
After all, it's already a busy season. Adding daily posts to the agenda? It's just too much.
But then, I thought back to these last two Advent seasons. And I remembered the importance of the posts that went up for the Prepare series and the Wonder series. Not because they were my most popular posts. Far from it, actually. At this time of year, some of the posts get hardly a glance.
No, an Advent series is not important because of how it makes me popular. It is important because of how it makes me whole.
These posts are a spiritual discipline: a centering on the things that matter when distractions swirl around every moment.
Our lives will keep trudging forward through December. Onward they will march, through stores and parties and gift-making and baking, until Christmas is here and gone and we hardly know how to recover from it all. Along the way we will see signs and symbols and pictures of the season.
Those everyday sights will be the inspiration for my Advent Series: Noticing Immanuel. I hope it will help us pause and notice how God is with us in the midst of it all. How, if we pay attention, the things we can see can point us towards the God who came, the God who is near, the God who we worship, the God who we love, the God who loves us.
Each day will start with that noticing: a picture of an everyday Christmas moment. That will lead us through a verse, a meditation, a prayer, and a song. My hope is that when we see those things a second time, it will strike us differently. That we might feel the presence of Immanuel, whether we are sitting in quiet or moving in chaos.
Noticing Immanuel begins tomorrow. Please join me if you are able.