For many of us it’s the same story every Christmas. We have every intention of transcending the gaudy consumerism and getting back to the deeper meaning of the season, only to realize later that we’ve spent the weeks leading up to December 25th breathlessly preparing for a stressful holiday instead of anticipating the birth of Jesus.
Our intentions are good but the problem is that we lack an actual strategy. That’s where Carmelites.net can help.
In “Song of the Soul” Carmelite saint John of the Cross describes his encounter with Christ in terms of being “face to face with love’s own grace.” Advent is a time of preparation when we ready ourselves to meet God incarnate—”love”—in the person of Jesus. This Advent (December 2-December 25), we’re offering our web and Facebook communities the opportunity to reflect on John of the Cross’ insight by spending a few minutes of your day contemplating where you’ve come face to face with love’s grace (God) in your own life.
In addition to blogs and reflections, during Advent, two of our most popular features—God’s Garden and the Daily Disconnect—will be embracing this theme in unique ways. In place of Carmelite quotes, the Daily Disconnect will invite us to reflect on God’s presence in our lives through short excerpts from the daily Advent mass readings. God’s Garden will replace its usual nature images with photographs in which we identify the presence of “God’s Grace” in daily life with a small print out of John of the Cross’ quote (example below).
All this and an iPod Nano…?
Ok, so we’re well aware of the irony of giving away an iPod after we’ve just slammed the commercialization of Christmas…but we want to celebrate the incredible growth of our online community this year and it’s always better to give than to receive, right? So give us a break! We’re giving away a Grand Prize (an iPod Nano loaded with an audio version of Therese of Lisieux’s autobiography Story of a Soul and a subscription to Magnificat) and three runner up prizes (Carmelite spirituality books, scapulars and a subscription to Magnificat) to the best pictures of “Grace” moments–like the one shown above–submitted by our readers. Click here to learn more.
In the meantime, don’t forget to deepen your spiritual experience this Advent by carving out a few minutes of quiet prayer everyday with the Daily Disconnect and God’s Garden. And make sure to send us your pictures in order to win your iPod Nano!