For the past few years, I have participated in a photo-a-day challenge during the season of Advent. It helps me to remember to slow down, pay attention, and notice the people and things around me. It helps me to focus on what is most important in this season that is so easily overshadowed by the busy-ness and bustle that is the rush to get to Christmas Day. Advent is a season of preparation and anticipation. Preparing not just for Christmas Day – but preparing our hearts, and minds, and souls for a life of compassion, justice, and peace. It is a time of seeking, and seeing, and listening. It is a time of truth-telling and soul-searching. Advent is life in black & white – it is raw, real, broken and beautiful.
This year, I decided to take two photos each day based on the single word prompts of the challenge. One picture was similar to the way I’ve been answering this challenge for all the years I’ve taken part – those pictures are the ones I share on the social media where I wear my professional hat…and since that hat is one of a person in ministry with children and families, the pictures are more general thoughts and reminders of how we seek to be, and live, and love as Christians. (If you want to see those pictures, you can find them here).
The other picture was posted here on the blog each day during Advent, and was truly my life – my family life – in black and white as we journeyed through this season. From word one, I have committed to being a truth teller on these pages – and the truth is, just like in the other 11 months of the year, our life during the season of Advent is equal parts raw, real, broken and beautiful. We are always in need of reminders to slow down, to listen, to be in the moment, and to accept that we aren’t always in control of timing or of outcome. Taking the time to reflect on the challenge word each day in the context of my family life helped me to remain focused on the slowness and beauty of the waiting that is at the center of Advent.
Here’s a look back at Advent 2017. This is life in black & white.