‘Stay Awhile’ reminds us to take time for the season’s necessary preparations
November 19, 2023
While the world tries to rush us into Christmas, decorating the day after Halloween and packing it all up once the gifts are opened on Dec. 25, Advent is a season of preparation that — like our holiday gatherings themselves — takes time and care.
Think of the anticipation that comes with hosting loved ones for Christmas dinner: We begin by extending an invitation. We make plans, and as the event draws closer, we begin our preparations. Ultimately, we open the door and welcome our guests, and that is when, finally, we celebrate. Advent should feel the same way, a time to make ready for the long-awaited event of Christ’s birth.
In “Stay Awhile: Advent Lessons in Divine Hospitality,” pastor Kara Eidson presents a banquet table of inspiration for Advent, including weekly reflections for personal and small group use, brief daily devotions and ideas to involve the whole congregation. Congregational resources include liturgies, sermon starters, children’s moments and even a no-rehearsals-needed Christmas pageant.
“Kara Eidson brings a scholar’s insight, a pastor’s heart, and a storyteller’s gift to the task of writing. Through the lens of hospitality, Kara invites us to hear anew the powerful themes and Scriptures of Advent, and to spend time daily reflecting upon them.” — Adam Hamilton, pastor and author of “Wrestling with Doubt, Finding Faith”
“Kara Eidson’s ‘Stay Awhile’ is an invitation that comes at just the right time. With daily devotions, questions for reflection, liturgical guides, and even a pop-up pageant, this Advent study is a rich resource for individuals, small groups and congregations alike. Eidson’s focus on hospitality reminds us of the importance of preparing for Jesus — physically, materially and spiritually. Like a balm for our frenzy-filled lives, “Stay Awhile” offers restoration, shifting our focus and deepening our experience of the Advent season.” — Christine Coy Fohr, co-author of “Meeting Jesus at the Table: A Lenten Study”
Westminster John Knox Press, Special to Presbyterian News Service
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, November 19, 2023, the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)
Today’s Focus: Presbyterian Publishing launches a new Advent book
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Jermaine Ross-Allam, Director, Center for Repair of Historical Harms Visioning, Rebuilding, and Innovation, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Greg Rousos, President & CEO, New Covenant Trust Co., Presbyterian Foundation
Let us pray
God of all, we give you thanks and praise for calling us to participate in your mission together with our brothers and sisters. Together, with your help, we encourage one another, challenge one another, and transform one another as one body, joined and knitted together, seeking to do your will. Amen.