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  1. everbecoming2007

    everbecoming2007 Well-Known Member

    +225
    Anglican
    Single
    How do you observe Advent?

    Though on my present schedule it is too stressful for me to keep the Daily Office, I still observe shorter devotions based on the Divine Office, and of course at this time of year the devotions reflect Advent.

    I keep some longer devotions based on a brieviary as well, but only sporadically as fits my schedule and benefits my spiritual life.

    I am one of those who keeps the practice of confession on a semi-regular basis, and I do make confessions at least once during Advent and the Lenten season. I know some will find this foreign, but I received an Anglo-Catholic formation from the priest in my year of preparation for baptism, confirmation, and first communion, and it stuck. The parish is very traditional as well and fairly high church, and most of the clergy have been somewhere on an Anglo-Catholic spectrum, so that's just a little background on how my spiritual life came to be formed. I do not condemn those who rely primarily on the General Confession, which I also find consoling.

    I try to remember to keep fasts, and I try to work harder on ridding myself of bad habits in Advent and replacing them with good habits and virtues. Good advice at any time of the year, really, but Advent is a good reminder and period of reflection.

    Also, though this applies to any time of the year, I have opportunity at this time to especially focus on works of mercy, kindness, and charity, and I am grateful to spend my Advent engaged with these practices and virtues.

    I have a grandfather and great grandfather, both of whom are ill. They don't have much time, and the great grandfather is likely on his way out of this earthly realm in the next couple of months.

    I visit them. I forgave the grandfather for past wrongs. With my great grandfather, who has always been good to me, I shower him with love and kindness. I tell him how proud I am of how he is handling dying, and how he has spiritually prepared for decades.

    My great grandfather and his side of my family are Oneness Pentecostals, and I have deep religious differences with them that I do not believe are indifferent matters.

    Nevertheless, during this Advent I am grateful to watch how they are handling the dying process in a loved one. They said prayers, and though I do not pray after their manner, I pray, too, after my own fashion and bless my great grandfather with scriptural prayers and blessings in my more quiet fashion.

    A couple of years ago while I was in the next room reciting the Office, I could hear my great grandfather likewise praying in his own quasi-liturgical manner. He was saying, "The night is spent, the day is at hand..." and referring to his old age and mortality, and it was very poignant to hear him acknowledging this reality with peace, sobriety, and preparation.

    He is experiencing much love and a happy and comfortable passing. It is a time of transition, fitting for Advent. The family is not, like some segments of modern culture, death denying.

    Traditionally, family members die at home with the family gathered around, and it is not uncommon for the dying to have death bed visions of departed family and friends gathered with us soon before the death, and sometimes the living have visions as well.

    Whatever one thinks of such extraordinary matters, this is part of the dying experience in my family.

    I am so grateful to be near my great grandfather at this time. He is even now teaching me something about life and living.

    And so are other family members. So beautiful to me was when my great aunt began singing old hymns and spiritual songs to my great grandfather so that he could join in with prayer.

    Every chance I get, I pray with and for my great grandfather. And he is grateful for my prayers, though I pray after a different manner than my family's customs.

    Thanks be to God for this time, for this Advent, and for all his mercies! Please pray in particular for my family, especially for my father, my great grandfather, and for myself.
     
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  2. everbecoming2007

    everbecoming2007 Well-Known Member

    +225
    Anglican
    Single
    A further note: my great grandfather, to the surprise of his doctors and caregivers, is in no pain! Thanks be to God!
     
  3. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

    +12,901
    Australia
    Anglican
    Married
    What a beautiful description of your family! Thank you for sharing it with us.

    I suspect that how we observe these seasons tends to shift over a lifetime. My primary additional discipline this Advent, believe it or not, is decluttering; trying to get rid of some of the extra and unnecessary "stuff" that has drifted into my life, in order to make more room for what is more important. (I don't just mean physically, but also mentally, if that makes sense).

    At other times I've had quite strict fasting disciplines and the like, but in this season of my life I don't find that so helpful.
     
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