by Ruth DuCharme

published in Family Matters e-newsletter, 11/21/13

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For many years, I have collected words. As a teenager I began keeping journals of poems, quotes, lyrics, prayers, and thoughts. In those days, my taste in poems was a little less mature and ranged from the poems of Susan Polis Schutz to the lyrics of the latest Amy Grant song. Regardless of the depth of the words, the exercise of reading and meditating has always nurtured my spirit.
 
As an adult, I am still a collector of words. I still keep journals of poems, quotes, lyrics, prayers, and thoughts. It is a spiritual exercise for me to sit in a quiet place to read, pray, and write. I allow the words to flow through my mind, to nurture my spirit, and to strengthen my understanding. I am thankful for the writings of Henri Nouwen, Joyce Rupp, Julian of Norwich, C.S. Lewis, Barbara Brown Taylor, and many others whose words find their way into my heart and onto the pages of my journal. They feed my spirit and draw me to spend time in devotion with God.
 
The season of Advent is a season of waiting and preparing. Over the four weeks of Advent, we are preparing to welcome the Messiah into our lives. We are preparing to receive the gift of God's love and salvation. It is a great time to employ a discipline of devotion into our lives and to allow the words of a great writer to nurture our spirits.
 
For several years, our church has provided an Advent devotional guide to be used during this season. This year's guide is titled, "A World Awaits," and contains the writings of C.S. Lewis, combined with scripture, to help us focus on remembering why we are celebrating and for whom we are waiting. The Advent guides are available for you to pick up from a basket in the Great Room or in the church office.
 
We are also providing a resource for our children to use during Advent that will enhance their season of preparation and waiting. Their booklet is titled, "A Bright Star in Bethlehem," and it comes with an Advent poster sheet and glowing star stickers that can help them count down the days to Christmas. These are available for pick up in the children's area of our church.
 
It is my hope that this resource will become a part of your faith journey through this season of Advent. I hope that the words contained within it will find their way into your heart and will be a source that will nurture your spirit as you prepare to celebrate the coming of our Messiah—Jesus Christ.