Advent—A Season of Anticipation and Hope
Even the wilderness will rejoice in those days. The desert will blossom with flowers. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy. The deserts will become as great as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel’s pastures, and the plain of Sharon … And the main road will go through that once deserted land. It will be named the Highway of Holiness. Evil-hearted people will never travel on it. It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways. Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return toJerusalem singing songs of everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear and they will be overcome with joy and gladness. Isaiah 35:1, 2a, 8, 10
I thoroughly enjoy being out in nature. I can hardly get enough of being outdoors, listening to the trees
The scripture above is Isaiah’s description of the final Kingdom in which God will establish his justice and destroy evil. I encourage you to go back and read the entire 35th chapter of Isaiah. It is a magnificent writing that overflows with hope and beauty.
No matter how much beauty and life we experience here and now, we are still in a time of waiting. We continue to wait through this 2023 Advent season in the church year and we will continue to walk the Highway of Holiness. It’s a marvelous image to hold in our minds and hearts. It’s a constant reminder that the Messiah, the Christ child will come to set us free from the bondage of this life – whatever that bondage might be for you. God will not forsake you and He is always beside you on the journey home.
Have hope. Wait. Be observant of the ways that God is preparing your heart to receive him. In the words of the lyrics of Canticle of the Sun ‘The heavens are telling the glory of God, and all creation is shouting for joy. Come, dance in the forest, come, play in the field, and sing, sing to the glory of the Lord.’
By Carol DeSchepper
Resources for Spiritual Growth and Development
Center for Action and Contemplation
Fr. Richard Rohr is a Franciscan of the New Mexico Province and the Founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
This is a wonderful spiritual resource from author and retreat and conference speaker, and spiritual "midwife". Joyce has a B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) in English, a M.R.E. (Masters in Religious Education), and a M.A. (Master of Arts) in Transpersonal Psychology. She is a member of the Servite Community (Servants of Mary) and was a volunteer for Hospice for fifteen years. She currently resides in Des Moines, Iowa. To sign up for her monthly newsletter go to email@example.com.
Daily Grace from Women of the ELCA (WELCA)
Daily Grace is an on-the-go companion for your journey, offering a faith reflection every day. Encounter God’s extravagant, boundless and often surprising grace by signing up for a daily email message. You can also download the newly updated app for your IOS and Android devices.
God Pause Daily Devotion
Looking for spiritual refreshment? God Pause email devotions are short, meaningful reflections on the following Sunday's lessons and gospel delivered directly to your email box. By Sunday, you'll be ready for an extra meaningful worship experience.
Melissa's Prayer Journal: The Power of Prayer in the Face of Cancer
ELCA Daily Bible Reading
There you will find a link to sign up.
If you are drawn to Lectio Divina as a prayer practice, Lectio365 is a daily devotional virtual resource that helps you pray the Bible every day. Written by leaders from the 24-7 Prayer movement, this resource helps you engage with the word, fix your eyes on Jesus, and connect with God in prayer.
TEXT & AUDIO – Read or listen to every devotional.
The app is free and is available through the Google Play store.
Spiritual direction is, in reality, nothing more than a way of leading us to see and obey the real Director — the Holy Spirit hidden in the depths of our soul. (Thomas Merton, Trappist monk, USA)
Some of you may wish to seek a spiritual director as a way to nurture your own spirituality. Spiritual maturity and growth is critical for the parish nurse. As you support others in body, mind, and spirit, tending to your own soul is important. Spiritual Direction is only one way of keeping yourself centered and grounded spiritually. You perhaps have other disciplines and practices that meet this need for you.
Contact Carol DeSchepper for a more in-depth discussion of Spiritual Direction, including access to a web site to locate a Spiritual Director.