Why not create an Advent walk in your church’s grounds? It’s a similar concept to the The Way of the Cross. Create posters for the five stops and invite people to visit your Advent Walk. However, it doesn’t need to be organized, an Advent Walk can begin anywhere outside. The purpose is to offer you moments of stillness, reverence, contemplation and beauty. Whether you are in your backyard, on a park path, or on a rugged trail, include these five stops along your way to focus on hope, peace, joy and love.
Good stuff to spend time thinking about. Click here for a printable copy of the stops below … and enjoy your walk.
Preparing the Way (the first stop)
Preparing our heart, mind and soul for the coming of the Lord takes intention and attention. The fact that you are reading this says your heart is being drawn to engage in that process.
The Christian journey begins by saying “yes” to God’s call to birth new life into the world — a call that is both powerful and gentle, a call that will, if fully embraced, grow beyond our imaginations, spilling out of ourselves and into our family, friends, community, and the whole world. This journey is a Way of Love.
Where do you hear an invitation to say yes to birthing good news and good works in the world?
Hope (the second stop)
Surrounded by angels, archangels and the company of heaven, let us pray. Gracious God, as the Advent season begins, we cry out to you. We come to you looking for hope. When everything else we rely on fails us, our only hope is in you. When we do not understand what has happened, we hope in you. We can hope for better days because we trust you. We know you and we know you are here with us no matter what we are facing. Some of us see only darkness this time of year. Some of us find life overwhelming. Some of us are filled with Advent joy. Wherever we find ourselves today, Loving God, remind us that our hope is in you. Be with us on this journey. Amen.
There are few things more fragile than an embryo of hope given its chance of life only by those who say ‘yes’ to its promise – like the prophets who said yes to God’s urging. Mary who said yes to an angel. Joseph who said yes to his Mary. Like all the people of faith through all of time who have said yes to the promise of love.
As we sit by the side of our walls — whatever that wall might be — surrounded by the rubble and rubbish of broken dreams and lives, what faith does it take to imagine an embryo of hope being brought to life here?
Where do you find hope? Where can you offer hope? What ‘yes’ are you able to say for it be born in our world?
Joy (the third stop)
Let us pray.
Joy is found in small things, O God. I have felt joy in a hug or the squeeze of hand. I have seen joy in a smile or heard it in laughter. Help me to not overlook the simple joys that peek into my life everyday. In this Advent journey, open my eyes to the joy that surrounds me. Amen.
Reflecting on the carols in the quiet of Advent is a vivid reminder that Christmas isn’t about finding the perfect gifts or filling seats around the table; it is “tidings of comfort and joy” that ultimately lead to rest. Hymns of celebration are bursting with profound theology.
Sing out now — aloud or within your heart. Let the words of “God rest ye merry gentlemen”, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and others remind you of the reality of joy Jesus’ birth brought to the world. (Words to familiar hymns are in the printable copy)
Peace (the fourth stop)
Let us pray.
Prince of Peace, reveal yourself to me today. We all need peace in our lives, our homes, our families, our church, and our whole world. Help me to slow down and seek out the peace you provide, so I may become a peacemaker for myself and others. In your name, Prince of Peace, I pray. Amen.
What do these names for Jesus found in scripture mean to you?
Alpha and Omega · Immanuel · King of Kings · Light of the World · Morning Star · Prince of Peace · Wonderful Counselor · Lamb of God · Savior of the World · The Good Shepherd · The Way · Lord of Lords · Anointed One · Bread of Life · Chief Cornerstone · Great High Priest · Holy and Righteous One · Lord of Glory · Messiah · Teacher · The Truth · Word of God.
Love (the fifth stop)
Let us pray.
God, we have learned to love from being loved by you. And so today, let us enact that love. Let us live that love. We know that what the world needs now is more love. We need to remember how much you love each one of us and we must share that love with others. Amen.
Listen to the call to love in these words. Matthew 22:36-40 says,
22 …36“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37He said to him, ” ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the greatest and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
These words are a call to action. What does a call to action looks like for you. Is it shown in intentional kindness, generosity or hope? There is no end to the ways we can respond.
As we walk through the remaining days of Advent let us all be mindful that Christmas Day is the climax of a much larger story, and that story is a Way of Love.
Sources for this Advent Walk include the Way of Love.