An Advent Calendar for Wonder and an Open Heart

Last year, when December was just around the corner, and I noticed that my to-do list was becoming more and more consuming, I asked the question: “How do I want to be this season?” I knew that the answer was not: stressed or focused on buying things or getting stuff done. Rather, I wanted to be full of wonder, to be open to mystery and the holy, to be ever softening and ever expanding. I want to give birth to God today–to propel my hands and feet to love. Now.

And so an Advent Calendar was born. I looked forward to the practices that I would find each day. I enjoyed the way that they turned my heart towards wonder and openness. It was a beautiful way to spend the Advent season.

Because I loved it so much, I thought I would share the calendar with you. Feel free to borrow it, use what you like, or make it your own (which is really the best way to do anything).

Spend some time with Heschel’s prayer for wonder.

Walk in nature. Notice life. Notice Stillness.
Take a picture.

Watch the sunrise. Spend time with Mary Oliver’s “Why I Wake Early.”

How did I get here? Think about that!

As you prepare a meal, think about all that goes into the food that you eat. Give Thanks.

Look at the stars. Imagine you are looking across the universe, not up. Think about looking back into time.

Spend time with John O’Donohue’s blessing “For Solitude”

If it snows, watch the snowfall.

Practice Statio: the monastic “practice of stopping one thing before beginning another. It is the acknowledgement that in the space of transition and threshold is a sacred dimension, a holy pause of possibility. This place of stillness, where we let go of what came before and prepare ourselves to enter fully into what comes next.” –Christine Valters Paintner, The Soul‘s Slow Ripening

Light a candle–notice the light in your heart.

Think about all of the things you don’t know. Rejoice in that!

“One of the reasons that we wonder is because we are limited, and that limitation is one of the great gateways of wonder.” – John O’Donohue, Walking in Wonder

Read Christine Lore Webber’s Mother Wisdom Speaks.

Honor the God image in each person you encounter.

Pray with the Labyrinth and “Trust in the Slow work of God.”

Practice Lovingkindess Meditation

Pray for others.
Light candles for them as you send them love.

Make “Open my heart” your breath prayer today. Take this prayer with you as you move through your day.

Read Jan Richardson’s “How the Light Comes.

Practice the “I love You. I love you” prayer.

How can I love the world today? Be creative.

Let myself hold someone. Let myself be held. Imagine God holding you.

Reflect on Meister Eckhart’s quote: “God is always needing to be born.”

Sit for a while, enjoy the Christmas lights.

Breathe love in.
Breathe love out.

Just be.

Feel free to download your own calendar if you would like to print it for your own use. Or better yet: Revise it so that it suits who you are and how your heart longs to be this season.

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