by Jennifer Svetlik
“As a congregant, I was able to soak in Advent in a special way, but as a pastor, I find it harder to stay focused when it’s my job to ‘make Advent happen,’” admitted Michelle Curtis, Co-Pastor of Ambler (PA) Mennonite.
Advent can sometimes get so busy for pastors and congregational leaders that personal devotion time can get sidetracked. To support fellow pastors during this time, a few Mosaic pastors share recommendations, reflections, and resources.
“I enjoy the calm centeredness of the Advent wait,” shared Sandy Drescher-Lehman, Pastor of Methacton (PA) Mennonite Church. “It’s been hard for many people to understand the importance of saving the hymns of Jesus’ birth until the end of the month when the rest of their lives are influenced by Christmas decorations and gift buying for two months before the actual celebration of Jesus’ birth.”
“I come from a family that was distrustful of anything ‘high church’ and was also anti-ritual,” said Pastor Nathan Good, Pastor of Swamp Mennonite Church (Quakertown, PA). Pastor Nathan explained that his congregation has a strong history of embracing rhythms of the church calendar and has stronger rituals and practices in these areas. “I have come to appreciate these seasons more as a result,” Pastor Nathan reflected.
“More than simply a liturgical season, Advent is remembering that God is with us, for us, and in us, this is our eternal hope, for Christ’s return in glory,” shared Tomas Ramírez of Iglesia Luz y Vida (Orlando, FL). “Even when we put up lights and exchange gifts as others do in this season, for us who are centered in Christ and his coming, we are focused on hope.”
Hendy Matahelemual, Pastor of Indonesian Light Church (Philadelphia, PA) reflected, “Our church is focused on the Jesus story and how we can become more Jesus-centered in our theology and practice. So that’s what Advent means to me … to really understand the work of Christ from the beginning.”
“In Advent, we wait for God to act and find that God acts through fragile and broken humanity,” shared Nathan Good. “So even though we feel weak and unable to make a difference, we know and trust that God can use our fragile efforts to transform creation through love.”
Looking for some personal (or congregational) nourishment this Advent season? Here are a few recommended resources from other Mosaic leaders:
Jesus: A Pilgrimage by James Martin, SJ. Recommended by Hendy Matahelemual, Indonesian Light Church (Philadelphia, PA).
Bless the Advent We Actually Have Free Advent Devotional by Kate Bowler, which includes scripture, blessings, reflections, and discussion questions to “make the act of waiting holy.” Recommended by Sue Conrad Howes, West Swamp (Quakertown, PA)
The Grand Miracle from the Christian History Institute, featuring gorgeous art, scripture, and writings of C.S. Lewis. Recommended by Michelle Curtis, Ambler (PA).
Sacred Pauses: Spiritual Practices for Personal Renewal by April Yamasaki, this book is helpful for those struggling with an anti-ritual past. Recommended by Nathan Good, Swamp (Quakertown, PA)
Because of Bethlehem by Max Lucado. Recommended by Tomas Ramírez, Iglesia Luz y Vida (Orlando, FL).
Songs for Christmas by Sufjan Stevens. Recommended by Andrew Zetts, Salford (Harleysville, PA)
25 Days of Advent Family Devotional, available in six languages, daily verse of scripture telling the Christmas narrative, created by Brooke Martin, Youth and Community Formation Pastor for Mosaic.
Jennifer is a member of the communication team, helping with editing, writing, and content creation. She was born near Houston, TX and spent a decade living in an intentional community in Washington DC, before moving to Lansdale, PA with her spouse, Sheldon Good. She is a graduate of the University of Texas and Washington Theological Seminary. She serves as Children’s Faith Formation Director at Salford Mennonite (Harleysville, PA). Jenn has two elementary-school-aged children and loves biking, camping, gardening, and vermicomposting with her family.