The season of Advent is a time-sequenced celebration of events in the Christian church. We are to spiritually prepare ourselves for the arrival of Christmas and the birth of our Lord. Advent calendars mark the days in any year and may vary from twenty-four to twenty-eight days. I chose to write for twenty-eight, beginning the first Sunday in Advent. This year, twenty-eight days bring us to the doorstep of Christmas Eve.
We begin each date with a verse or two from a classic carol or song. We all know many of them, and they buzz in our heads the entire month anyway. Most originated from scripture or poetry and eventually became hymns adopted for Christmas services everywhere. They can become a cherished part of our meditations when appreciated for history and song.
Each reflection was written by me during the lockdown time of the global pandemic. Each is meant to access our spiritual selves as we are on any given day. It is my hope they give inspiration for that day and longer and foster the spirit of goodwill this season has to offer.
The prayers bind the themes to the carols and reflections. They are intentionally crisp and brief, as prayers do not always require a lot of words. The gift of the season is reflection. Hopefully, our reflection will give us pause and enable praise to a God of understanding. The doxology for the lives we lead is often born in simplicity.
Chaplain Virginia Mayo is a retired hospice chaplain and a member and recorded minister with the Religious Society of Friends of Pittsburgh. In recent years she served as a substitute preacher for various local Protestant churches, and, during the pandemic lockdown, she found inspiration for writing this book. Chaplain Mayo has created and instructed a course, "Grief and Loss in Life and Literature," for the OSHER Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Pittsburgh. She is a theology graduate of the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and a graduate in counseling education from Duquesne University. Relishing all things Pittsburgh, Chaplain Mayo may be found browsing the neighborhood library or nesting in one of its urban coffee shops.