Tag Archives: advent calendar

looking ahead

That’s what Advent is about. Looking ahead, anticipating. And today is the first Sunday of Advent.

For Advent this year I’ll be looking ahead and looking back.

I’ve been wrestling for the past couple weeks with the question of my thankfulness, or, more accurately, my lack of it. Into that thinking came Robert Hruzek. Every month he invites people to write a post about what they learned from [something]. For December, the challenge will be “what I learned from the generosity of others.”

As I was thinking about that topic today, I thought of one post, and then another, and then another. I realized that a wonderful approach to Advent, to understanding grace and generosity and unmerited favor (that’s for the seminary trained readers of this blog), would be to be grateful. So that’s going to be my theme for the next month. You can join me each day if you wish.

Some of you will be looking at my Advent ebook starting tomorrow, December 1. I’ve love to know whether it helps your anticipation of Christmas this year.  It is available as a FREE downloadable pdf, advent2008, (Right click on the link to the left and save the file to your computer). Or leave me a comment and I can email it to you. It’s also a digital book on yudu.

Looking ahead to 2009, I’m starting a new site, 300wordsaday.com. I’ll be working with a number of people, maybe with you, to help people follow Jesus 300 words a day. Don’t worry if that isn’t of interest to you. That’s why it will be over there. But I just wanted to let you know.

Why is that what it’s called? Because 300 words is long enough to help us think and not so long we are overwhelmed. It looks exactly like this.


not much year left

At the beginning of the year, I wrote an 8 ways post about goals and about accomplishing stuff (January 1, 2008) . With a month left in the year, I went back to that post to see what I had said, to see how I was doing.

I realized that the original post is worth reviewing as we get to the end of 2008. There is still time to redeem the time.

1. Ask yourself or your partner in accomplishing life, “list three words for the year.”
Rather than giving you a roadmap, these can give your heart direction for the year. (One of our words for the year is “smaller”, reflecting a desire to live more simply with many fewer purchases.) [This was a great idea, except that I don’t remember all three words. One was “smaller,” one was “simpler,” and one may have been “finish.” I’m hoping it was because this has been a year of finishing some things.]

2. Identify month-long rather than year-long goals.
This year I set a goal for August, for thirty days of posting. It was achievable because it was sustainable. I did the same for Advent. I’m planning it again for Lent. [The lent project turned into a group project, which was great And I’m finishing two months of posting tomorrow. And I’m still working with shorter-term goals. What about you?]

3. Talk next to rather than across from a guy.
Nancy realized that part of our success in walking and talking this year came because we weren’t looking at each other. I’m certainly not opposed to looking at my wife–quite the contrary. However, it is easier to talk while side by side. (The real principle here is that we need to make progress comfortable).

4. If “purposes” or “directions” are more helpful than “goals”, great.
Progress is more important than language.

5. Interact with people.
I’ve been stretched by conversations this year in ways that I never would have imagined at the beginning of the year. I think differently than I did…and so do some of the people that I’ve talked with. And the truth? Our projects may fail or fizzle, but the more we are deepening in relationships, with both other humans and with God, the less significant those projects are. [This has been ever more a year of meeting people and talking with people. And of having to remember how important that is.]

6. Let goals masquerade as things you want to do.
You think, “I want to read that particular book.” Do it. Then you will have read something, grown your world, given yourself something to talk with others about, challenged your thinking, and kept either a library or bookstore in business. (And here are some books to consider…from my “bookstore” or I could loan them to you)

7. Tell other people about what you are wanting to do in as direct or vague a way as you want to be held accountable.
There are a bunch of people who are really tired of hearing that we’ve been walking. The more we talked about it, however, the more we knew we needed to keep going. And as we were at the mall this morning, we noticed a couple we know who have decided to walk at the mall. So we’ll keep talking about walking. [They didn’t keep walking. We have. But I am also sure that we need to tell people our core goals. Or we’ll forget them.]

8. Forget about lists. Just live.
(Although ironically, just living can turn into a whole collection of 8 ways lists.)


Advent starts on Monday, December 1 (at least my book does). You could make one of your goals to use an advent calendar or book.

My advent ebook is available as a FREE downloadable pdf, advent2008, (Right click on the link to the left and save the file to your computer). Or leave me a comment and I can email it to you. It’s also a digital book on yudu.

looking ahead

A couple weeks ago, I was in a coffee chain. I noticed a Christmas tree with little boxes, each numbered. It was an advent tree, complete with chocolate.

For reasons I don’t quite understand, my immediate response was, “I should try an Advent calendar-blog.” So that’s what I’m doing.

Starting on Saturday, December 1, I’ll be doing daily posts at advent2007.wordpress.com. (I won’t stop writing here, by the way. There are still 8 ways to not do lots of things. And, of course, there are other things to talk about as well.)

As I started thinking about how to look at Advent, at this season of time in anticipation of Christmas, I started thinking about people who live in expectation. I started reading through the book of Luke in the Bible (partly because that’s what Linus quotes in “A Charlie Brown Christmas”). And as I read, I realized that it is full of people who had holes in their lives.

So that’s what I’ll be talking about.

The first post, for December 1, is about a couple of people who are living good lives, who have been for a long time, and who aren’t getting what they want most.

If you want to be part of this project, head over to advent2007.wordpress.com and bookmark it or add it to your feedreader. Then, starting Saturday, follow along as we look with anticipation at Christmas.