Sunday, November 30, 2008

First Sunday of Advent

Most of you know that I love love love Advent-- it's my favorite liturgical season, and one that I really love marking with a distinct set of spiritual practices. For the last two years, Ben and I (and our faith community) have been celebrating advent by working through a book entitled "Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J.M. Nouwen." It's a beautiful book, and has devotions for each day of Advent that contain a passage from some of Nouwen's writing, a biblical passage, a prayer, and what they call an "advent action."

In addition to our daily devotions, we love having a special celebration each Sunday of Advent. Ben's mom has totally paved the way for this tradition-- in their home, they have special Advent treats, Advent songs, and a candle lighting ceremony each Sunday of Advent. We've taken to continuing that tradition in our household, and each Sunday we sit down and have a time that we spend together in song, prayer, and feasting. So later tonight we're going to dim the lights, light that first lonely candle Advent, and begin the season of waiting (which feels so much more centered than black friday!).

Here's today's special Advent treat, a modified recipe from my dear friend Kathryn:

Candied Walnuts
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/2 t cinnamon
1t vanilla
2 cups walnuts
1/4 t kosher salt

1. Boil milk and sugar to about 234-240 degrees, which for those of you who, like me, have no candy thermometer, is roughly until it just starts to turn a little off-white.
2. Add cinnamon and vanilla, and pour over walnuts
3. Continue stirring until the syrup cools down a bit and turns into a candy coating.
4. Sprinkle with kosher salt

Enjoy! And I hope everyone has a blessed and peaceful Advent!


woerove said...

We had our Advent celebration this year at Maura's (soon to be ex) apartment. Although you, Ben and Zosia were not there your presence was with us. We talked about the waiting, the joyful anticipation of expecting. Some of us are skeptical, or maybe that is the wrong word, but unsure of how to find joy in the uncertainly of what lies ahead. What exactly will come at the end of this wait? And will it be what we were expecting? Maura read a prayer that our call as christians is to live in uncertainty, but that certainty, like everything from God, is accompanied by Agape Love. Uncertainty wrapped in love somehow does not seem as daunting No answers were formulated except, as we have so often talked about, the need to concentrate on being, being present in the moments of the waiting. So I look forward to sharing in the anticipation with you and your readers this advent season.

Adele Paz Collins said...

Thanks for filling me in! I feel like I was there just the littlest bit. Yes, this advent feels totally different out of the context of our community. I love what you said about uncertainty wrapped in love... it definitely makes it easier.