Catching up…

Nativity 2013 - CHeckert

Nativity 2013 – CHeckert

Christmas is over, the new year has begun, but I find myself sitting in the face of Advent.  A more real Advent than any I’ve experienced before.  That is the countdown to the birth of my second child.  Unlike her sister’s birth almost two years ago, this birth is scheduled and is more predictable, but brings with it no less anticipation.  I am waiting, excited, reflective.

This Advent/Christmas season I preached a sermon series, “Breaking through the Chaos.”  Each week we explored art, current issues and ancient practices to help us to experience the living God, who has come to break through our chaos.  God does not compete with our busyness, shout over our volume, or try to run faster than our pace.  Instead, God comes to us in unexpected ways, like contemplative silence, humility, selfless love and boundless joy, such as a child.

I had hoped to offer some of the resources, links and spiritual disciplines from the series online as a companion to the sermons.  In this second Advent for me, I’m using the same disciplines to anticipate and be open to what God is doing.   So I share those resources/links here to perhaps enrich your journey, even beyond Christmas and the new year.

Being un-busy in a busy world
We are busy – many things to do, places to go, activities to explore.

All of this business is some how supposed to bring joy, happiness, fulfillment, pleasure.

But, it causes more stress, accentuates grief and only adds to our chaos…

God responds to our chaos through stillness.

God doesn’t compete with our busyness with more things to do.

God doesn’t scream over our noise to get our attention.

God doesn’t dazzle us in our stuff by giving us more stuff.
In the face of our chaos, God’s response is unexpected.

We have to be prepared to receive God’s response to us.

Be prepared – we are preparing our homes, families, etc…

But how do we prepare our spirits?

Be un-busy.

But how?
Spiritual Disciplines:

1. Flame

Use a candle in your prayer life – to slow down, remember that flame is warm and seemingly gentle, but calls our attention and helps us to be present.

2. Daily Examen

Learn all about this ancient Ignatian practice here: Daily Examen
Give thanks, confess, pray
Short lines, bullets
Use: Little journals, computer doc, voice memo, Evernote
Light a candle, take a breath and prayerfully write.

3. Centering Image

Find an image that embodies for you the qualities of God’s grace.  Gaze at the image for a while as you slow down your pace and allow God to speak to you through your visual journey.  Some call this Visio-Divina, a take on the ancient practice of Lectio-Divina.  This isn’t in any way image, or icon worship, it is centering prayer when we don’t know what words to use.  It is visual centering before we re-engage words to journal about our day and offer the prayers of our heart.

Here are a few I use:

HP0016 rembrandt-return-of-the-prodigal-son11 Chris Art Print-Photos IMG_5891 18-Peace-Be-Still Jesus washing feet copy





4. Read the Story

Simply put, read the Christmas story for yourself.  You can choose from any of these narratives: Matthew 1:18-2:12, Luke 2:1-20, or John 1:1-18.

In this new, post Christmas season I would encourage you to find a new favorite – one that may become a reference point for this season of your life.

My go-to story is: Matthew 5:1-11.


Categories: Faith

Author:Chris Heckert

Senior Pastor of Haddonfield United Methodist Church Musician, communicator, husband/father, seeker of a better way through reconciliation by the healing power of God's love


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