I love lavish Advent and Christmas decorations–Advent logs with a candle for each day of the season settled on a mantlepiece over the fireplace, real Christmas trees, colorful lights festooning yards and houses. Like many of us this year, though, I’m preparing to honor the season with a variety of adjustments. I don’t have a fireplace or an Advent log, and my space constraints and other factors make a real tree impossible right now.
I’m excited, though, because I have found some alternative ways to honor the season. Though I don’t have a mantelpiece, I have a long hallway. Rather than lighting one candle each day on an Advent log, I plan to set up one new luminary each day along the corridor. (My landlord will no doubt be relieved that I’m using LED tea lights rather than flame). It felt important to me this year to mark the growing light each day of Advent. Maybe that’s the thing that stands out to me most as this season of waiting begins again. It’s felt already like a year with so much waiting, so much difficulty for so many people, so many reasons to look forward to Christ’s coming to heal all things. I’m glad I found a way to light a new candle each day. It reminds me that Christ comes to us in many ways while we wait for the final restoration, and often those ways seem as quiet and fragile as one flame in a winter night.
I imagine many blog readers are also adjusting usual expectations this year, and that you may be feeling that you have less time and headspace for seasonal activities than usual. Some readers may feel you have too much time on your hands in a moment of lockdown or waiting between things. I pray that Christ will be with you, lighting your darkness and giving you hope to look forward to the city where the Lamb will be our light.
Wherever you are and whatever you’re experiencing, we wanted to share some Advent resources to help you cultivate that hope. We have tried to choose resources that are inexpensive or free to access, that represent a diverse range of Christian experiences, and that can be helpful even if you don’t have much time or headspace.
This first week, we’re featuring a small booklet for Advent 2020 by The Daily Prayer Project (pictured below). It provides short morning and evening prayer liturgies to go with Scripture readings from the Revised Common Lectionary. I especially appreciate the way it selects liturgical readings and songs from Christians in many different times and places, the simple but effective layout, and the thoughtfully chosen art included in the booklet.
Whatever Advent resources you choose this year, may God draw near to you in this season.
Hannah Eagleson is Interim Associate Director of InterVarsity’s Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). She launched and still edits ESN’s collaboratively written devotional for academics, Scholar’s Compass. Hannah also crafts other community-building events and materials for ESN. She holds a PhD in English literature from the University of Delaware, and an MA from St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD. she’s working on a novel about a dragon who gave up fending off knights to become a tea importer in eighteenth-century England.