I am a person of faith without a strong tradition. Like so many people I know, I came up through various evangelical Christian teachings with weak connections to the rich, varied history of the Christian Church. In fact, in many ways, the fractures were intentional, the isolation by design.
And like many others, I have been unsatisfied with the result. When I have experienced the kinds of things a faith tradition is most useful for—births, deaths, seasons of trial and hardship—I have found what I was handed to be lacking. But I have also found a thread.
Because what was given to me was a great mystery which, whether pastors and teachers approve or not, is indelibly linked to all the wild branches of the faithful. All the pursuers who did or didn’t have a path set clear before them, but followed the Spirit that stirred in them toward hope and peace and joy and, above all, entirely encompassing Love. I have a strong desire to be united with them and liturgy is one way to do that.
So as I explore this mystery I am piecing together a tradition which reaches far back and opens wide. I’m falling in with the sea of humanity which recognizes a kindness we can’t name precisely and an imperative to walk the way of Love.
For me, it is Christ. Jesus the man who was born around 2,000 years ago and whose life, death, and resurrection say everything I need said about who we are, who this Spirit is, and what is going on here.
It starts with a birth. So though I do not have strong memories of Advent in my childhood, I am creating them now. I made this liturgy a few years ago and offer it here as a resource for you in case what you were handed doesn’t feel like enough or does feel like too much.
It is small—maybe just my family—but you will not be alone in reciting it and it is by design something that echoes what people around the world will be attending with their hearts during this season.
Feel free to print this out, share it, do it with your family, small group, neighbors… Whatever the Spirit guides you to do! Merry Christmas, friend.