Kate Taliaferro shares ideas for new spiritual practices during Advent, and offers two free printable Advent journals.
We have made it to November and we know the end of the year is upon us. Not the calendar year necessarily, though I know many of us are looking forward to that as well. As Catholics, we get a jumpstart on the new year, which is pretty cool. Our new year is the First Sunday of Advent, this year on November 29. It’s like we get a bonus month of good habits, new beginnings and energy -- that is, if we take advantage of all that Advent has to offer.
Advent gets harder each year because it feels like the Christmas tinsel and snowmen are being rolled out earlier and earlier. This year is no different and perhaps even more difficult than it would normally have been due to the pandemic. Halloween was a mere shadow of what it usually is; Thanksgiving is already being downplayed. But Christmas, no one seems to be thinking we ought to dampen that.
Of course, I’m not going to say we ought to cancel Christmas or any other nonsense. However, taking a few steps back, we can clearly see that this year Christmas is going to be different. How, we don’t quite know. What is beautiful though, is that while our celebrations may have to alter, the reason remains unchanged. Jesus, true God and true Man, is coming into the world as a baby.
With this in mind, and recognizing that this whole entire year has been, well, different, perhaps our Advent season ought to be a little different also. If you’ve never done it before, let me gently challenge you to consider taking up a new spiritual practice for the 4 weeks of Advent. If you have, that’s awesome and I encourage you to do it again this year, seeking to dig even deeper into your faith. Here are a few ideas:
- A daily Rosary
- Waking up 15-30 minutes early for prayer
- Daily Mass (virtual or in person as conditions permit)
- A new Bible study
- A daily meditation or reflection book
To help you in your search for a new spiritual practice, I’ve created 2 totally free and printable Advent journals. You can find both at my website, DailyGraces.net.
One journal is a guided Lectio Divina journal. What is Lectio Divina? This is a method of praying with a specific Scripture verse or short passage and really digging into it. There are directions and examples within the journal as well as Scripture passages that are chosen from the daily readings. If you are familiar with Lectio, or wish to choose your own passages rather than the given ones, there is also a blank journal page where you can write in your own.
The second journal is loosely based in Lectio Divina. There are still daily Scripture passages to focus on, but rather than coming from the daily readings, each day of the week the Scripture is from the previous Sunday of Advent. There is then a brief meditation as well as a reflection question. This journal will work beautifully for an individual but can also easily be used as a couple, a family or even a small group coming together once a week to reflect on what they’ve been feeling and learning through the meditation and journaling process.
I hope you find these journals to be a helpful and meaningful addition to your Advent season.
Copyright 2020 Kate Taliaferro
Image: Pexels (2015)
About the Author
Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mom of 4. She has a Masters in Religious Education and tries to find God's presence in all parts of her day, be it cooking, cleaning or just the everyday ordinary. She enjoys homeschooling, stitching crafts and finding cheerios between the couch cushions. She blogs at Daily Graces.