Happy Friday! I told you last week that I wouldn’t be popping into your inbox today with our usual Wonder Report, which is true. This isn’t your usual Wonder Report. Instead, I’m interrupting the Thanksgiving weekend to share a few gifts with you as we prepare for Advent, which begins on Sunday. I hope all of these will be helpful for you during this season of anticipation.
1. Questions for Advent
This was the world Jesus was born into, these were the people who were waiting for Messiah: many who felt forgotten, others eager for revolt, a few holding on to a single thread of hope. Would God really bring peace on Earth and salvation to his people?
It’s a world many of us can relate to now, even on this side of the manger and the cross and the empty tomb. It’s a world filled with violence and political unrest, resentment and uncertainty. It’s a world where losses seem to pile up, and God often seems silent. For many, it’s a world of more sadness than joy, more heartache than hope, and more questions than answers.
It’s exactly the kind of place where the light of a Christmas star can shine the brightest.
That’s why this year for Advent, rather than rehearsing the familiar prophecies and returning to the same old characters and plot lines, I’m inviting us to lean into the longings and laments of the people of God when their waiting felt like it would never end. Each Friday, we’ll consider a heartfelt question from the Psalms, the inspired hymnbook of Israel. Even during exile and the 400 years of silence, the people of God would have sang these songs, crying out to the God they weren’t always sure was listening. This poetry not only reflects the heart of its authors—Moses, David, Asaph, Ethan the Ezrahite, the sons of Korah, and others—it also held the wisdom of Jesus’ teaching and the anguish of His cruciform suffering, and even now holds space for our own fears, desires, and joy.
And if you choose, you can lean even further into the questions of Advent by using this workbook that includes 25 questions, one for each day of December ending with Christmas.
As we begin our own season of waiting again this year, may these questions help us plumb the depths of our own hearts and remind us just how good the news of Jesus’ coming really is.
2. Winter Notecards
I’ve mentioned a few times here that I’ve been doing more painting and drawing over the last few months. In some ways, it feels like exactly the kind of therapy my grieving heart has needed. A few of my simple drawings made their way into the Questions of Advent guide above, but I also turned 10 different designs into a set of winter notecards for you to download, print, and use for your winter correspondence.
There’s two to a page, and you can print all of them, or just the ones you like best. I’m pairing mine with these cute Kraft Paper Envelopes*, but you could use any 4.375 x5.75 inch envelopes. I hope you like them!
3. Advent Playlist
Finally, I started an Advent playlist last year and have continued to add some really great songs to it for this year, including several from the new Porter’s Gate Advent album. If you’re on Spotify, be sure to check it out.
Well, that’s it. The whole issue is just a big bunch of gifts this time. If you know someone else who might like any or all of these, just share this post with them. They won’t even need to subscribe to download these resources.
I say it often, but I really mean it: Thanks again for sharing this time with me. As always, if you’d like to send me a note or ask a question, you can hit reply and end up in my inbox. Or you can also leave a comment on this newsletter, which will live in the archive over on Substack. It’s one of my favorite features of this platform.
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Until next time,