Welcome to Advent

Erin Swenson-Reinhold, DMin, LCSW

Advent wreath

The lights, music, and decorations reminds us that the season of celebrations is upon us. Despite the promise of joy and happiness, we are confronted by societal pressures and expectations. We are encouraged to spend time with family and friends, but we are pushed to finish our holiday shopping. We speak of peace and love, but we spend most of our energy hustling and bustling between stores and activities leaving us tired and worn.

In my faith tradition, we set aside the four weeks before Christmas for intentional prayer and reflection. We embark on the season of Advent – a time of preparation by readying our hearts, minds, and spirits – to intentionally create space in our lives for Christ. During one of the busiest seasons of the year, we purposefully remind ourselves to slow down.

Through my role as a pastoral counselor, I recognize the longing most of us carry to simply slow down. The season of Advent offers us time and space to stop and reflect on our busyness – the busyness of body, mind, and spirit – that prevents us from living into our healthy and whole lives.

Therefore, I encourage you to embark on the Advent challenge this season and identify those areas where you are being called to slow down and simply be in the presence of God, yourself, and one another.

Blessings during this Advent Season and throughout the new year,

Erin Swenson-Reinhold, DMin, LCSW

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