Meditations for the Second Week of Advent

Note: Here are the meditations for the second week of Advent.  You can find the first week’s meditations here.

Second Sunday in Advent

Meditation and Prayer

For Meditation:

  • Isaiah 5, 11
  • John 5:19-40
  • Rev. 20, 21:1-8 (optional)

Prayer for the Second Week of Advent:

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:  Grant us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Photo Credit: Markus Grossalber via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Markus Grossalber via Compfight cc

Advent Tree:  Catechism Review

Use this Sunday to review the Advent Catechism:

Meditations for the First Week of Advent

Note: Several years ago I wrote a series of Advent devotions for my kids. I posted them on a different blog, along with Scripture readings and prayers. They helped a lot of people observe Advent more purposefully, so I wanted to share them with you this Advent season.

Welcome to Advent

American Christians have the unique advantage of ending the Trinity Season with a four-day feast.  Thanksgiving, the official feast day, requires a table so loaded with food that the leftovers last, conveniently, until the following Sunday—the first day of Advent.

The season of Advent, the four weeks before Christmas Day, has long been observed in the Church as a time of personal examination, repentance, and preparation for the first Great Feast Day of Christmas.   For this reason, Advent has often been called Little Pascha, or Small Lent, to signify the fasting, prayer, confession, and reconciliation that are to mark this season in the lives of Christians.

Photo Credit: Markus Grossalber via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Markus Grossalber via Compfight cc

Advent is also the beginning of the much longer season of Yuletide, the “long sequence of holy days, festal revelries, and liturgical rites stretching from the end of November through the beginning of January” (The Christian Almanac, 722). Yuletide begins with Advent, progresses through the feasting and gift-giving of Christmas, and concludes with Epiphany, a time of remembrance and thanksgiving.

It is very difficult for modern Christians who do not belong to traditionally liturgical churches to follow the Church calendar.  This year, to assist my faithful readers in better observance of Advent (and to give myself better accountability in my observance), I want to share with you some devotional readings I wrote for my family for each day of the Advent season.

Thanksgiving Special: The Love of Story Class

One year ago, I opened registration for my first online literature class: The Love of Story. In celebration of this one year anniversary, I’m offering this class again at a 40% discount until December 2.

This class studies the role stories play in shaping us, our work, and our vision of the world. We read and discuss works by Salman Rushdie, Oscar Wilde, and Wendell Berry.

I had a great group of students last year and some incredible discussion in this class. The best outcome of the class, however, was the way it changed the students. Here’s what one student wrote about it:

I really learned a lot from this class. A lot of the application hit me hard and that is good. Change is not a fun thing, but change is often a necessary thing. Working through these books has helped to remind me of the kind of person I need to become. I would be motivated to sign up for another class based on that alone.

The full price of the Love of Story class is $99. But until December 2, the tuition for this class is only $59. That’s a 40% discount!

You can learn more about this great course by visiting the course description page on my new website designed specially for my online students.

This course is self-paced, so it doesn’t led to any “purchased stress.” You can work your way through the books and videos in your free time. You’ll have immediate access to the entire course as soon as you register. You’ll also have lifetime access to the entire course, so even if life gets busy (or is busy now!), you’ll still be able to enjoy all the benefits this course offers.

The holiday time gets busy fast, and it’s easy to turn this meditative season into a time of stress and unrest. This class will give you some structured time this holiday season to read, think, mediate, and learn how to live a better story.

I hope you join me in the Love of Story class! Click here to learn more and register!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sam

Why Work Is Warfare

A few weeks ago I finished reading the entire Lord of the Rings aloud to my son—all 1200 pages.

Reading this book aloud taught me many things about Tolkien’s genius as a wordsmith. Several of his sentences shocked me with their clarity of vision and depth of wisdom. I missed these sentences on earlier readings, but they grabbed me by the eyeballs this time through.

wrench

One of these sentences comes from Gandalf (who else?):

A Prayer for Thanksgiving

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O Lord my God,
to you and to your service I devote myself—body, soul, and spirit.

Fill my memory with the record of your mighty works;
enlighten my understanding with the light of your Holy Spirit;
and may all the desires of my heart and will center in what you would
have me do.

Make me an instrument of your salvation for the people entrusted to my care, and let me by my life and speaking set forth your true and living Word.

Be always with me in carrying out the duties of my salvation;
in praises heighten my love and gratitude;
in speaking of You give me readiness of thought and expression;
and grant that, by the clearness and brightness of your holy Word,
all the world may be drawn to your blessed kingdom.

All this I ask for the sake of Your Son, my Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.

~The Book of Common Prayer

How to Add Google Fonts to Your Mac

Last week I was working on a new project for you all, and I needed to use a font from Google.  After a bit of research and tinkering, I figured out how to download the right Google font and install it on my Mac.

I wanted to share with you what I learned for two reasons:

  1. Beauty is important.  Beauty and excellence rarely occur apart.  This is true in life and in education.  Spending a little bit of time thinking through typography, layout, colors, etc. can dramatically improve your work.
  2. I wanted to show off my new screencast software!

So I made a quick little tutorial explaining how to install a Google font on your Mac (it’s useful even for PC users).  Here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4w_hwrgrUk?autoplay=1&controls=0&showinfo=0&rel=0

PC users would still download the font in the same way.  You’d just install the .ttf files in a different location.  Do some quick Google research to figure out where to paste the .ttf files.

Your Turn:  What other kinds of tutorials would be helpful to you?

The Greatest Toast

“May your table be graced with lovely women and good men.  May you drink well enough to drown the envy of youth in the satisfactions of maturity.  May your men wear their weight with pride, secure in the knowledge that they have at last become considerable.  May they rejoice that they will never again be taken for callow, black-haired boys.

“And your women?  Ah!  Women are like cheese strudels.  When first baked, they are crisp and fresh on the outside, but the filling is unsettled and indigestible; in age, the crust may not be so lovely, but the filling comes at last into its own.  May you relish them indeed.

“May we all sit long enough for reserve to give way to ribaldry and for gallantry to grow upon us.  May there be singing at our table before the night is done, and old, broad jokes to fling at the stars and tell them we are men.”

-Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb

Why You Need to START Now

Somewhere on the dusty workbench of your brain, there is a great project waiting. Maybe it’s an idea for a novel. Maybe it’s going pro with your photography. Maybe it’s an itch to start a private school.

Whatever the project is it’s huge. It’s overwhelming. It’s so enormous, you don’t have any idea how it will ever happen.

Which is exactly why you need to start that project right now.

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