You’ve felt it, haven’t you? That deep ache inside for something more. That longing that rises in you during this season of twinkle lights and stress and doIreallyhavetosendanotherChristmascard? The sense that there must be something more, but it just can’t come with another task to be added to the unending To Do list.
What if, instead of the frantic holiday pace the world demands, what if there was another, slower pace? What if this season could be about exploration and coming home to some ancient practices and discovering a peace that transcends the tacky?
And what about that blank space that descends after the Christmas? What if, as the ancient church experienced, December 25 was just the start of a beautiful journey into the meaning and experience of Emmanuel, God with us, instead of the end? What if the story kept going? What if that story culminated in a celebration and experience of revelation and redemption?
Each week we will journey in community and individually through themes and exercises designed to bring you closer to the heart of Christ in this season, and closer to your heart’s true home.
On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, you’ll receive an email woven with meditations, exercises, poetry and music to guide you along the way.
Once a week (usually on Saturdays), you’ll be invited to participate in a group video conference to experience the season in community. These conferences will be times of prayer and reflection, times to slow down and listen to God and one another as the season progresses. To live out the rhythm of God’s heartbeat. For those familiar with the term, these will be times of group spiritual direction—facilitated experiences of listening to God together.
You’ll also have access to a private Facebook community where you can process your times of prayer, lean into your fellow pilgrims along the way, and have access to the retreat’s resources. This community will be moderated by two experienced spiritual directors in order to hold your time in prayer and safety.
You can participate as much or as little as you like, making this journey uniquely yours.
Week One: Homesick
Advent begins not with the Christ child, but with the end of time. The season of Advent invites us to turn toward what is to come, and to turn with all of our questions, hopes, doubts and longings. It is a time when we confront our desire for the world to be set right, when we step into what it means to feel homesick. Advent’s embrace of the ache presses us against the thin membrane between Heaven and earth, and we are changed.
Week Two: Living in the In Between
The theme of waiting thrums through the weeks before Christmas, pulsing with the tension of what is and what is to come. Here we step closer to the question of what it means to live with hope in a world whose pains and brokenness seem to mock the light. What does it mean to move beyond the simple phrase “already and not yet” and live in the tension of mature hope.
Week Three: The Way of Small Things
Having shaped us with the hope of what is to come, the calendar turns us toward the story of Bethlehem. A woman, a man, a child. We begin to ask the question, what does it mean to embrace smallness in a world that wants us to live large? How can we step into the way of small things without negating the truth that we all matter greatly to God? How can the small things quiet our hearts as God slips silently into our skin?
Week Four: The Blinding Light
“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.” This is how the Messiah is introduced to the shepherds, the least of these, in the fields at night. Into the darkness, light burst brilliantly forth. And they were terrified. The light of Christmas, the truth of Emmanuel, can be blinding and discomfitting, rearranging our neatly planned celebrations and ideas of how life is going to go. Once blinded, can we begin to see? What does it mean to step into the Christ light?
Week Five: Crossing Over
Christmas begins on December 25, it doesn’t end there. And the celebration of the Messiah come to us, the saving work of God made flesh, invites us to cross over into a new land of hope and promise. Yet, the season of celebration isn’t without its complications—there are giants in the land. What does it mean to cross over into the promise of Jesus, the promise of a new year, knowing that there may be more in this new land than we yet understand?
Week Six: Living Our True Selves
Epiphany means revelation, a moment of sudden insight, a manifestation of the divine. Celebrated on January 6, Epiphany is the official end of the Christmas season, and the beginning of all that is to come. Epiphany celebrates the revelation of Christ as the beloved of God, and in Epiphany we experience that revelation ourselves. We are the beloved of God. How, then, do we live?
• Three emails a week connecting you to the season, the Scriptures and prayer practices to hallow the time
• A weekly group spiritual direction call to experience the Holy together
• A private Facebook community to journey alongside
• Access to two spiritual directors to answer questions, maintain presence and pray for you (read more about spiritual direction here)
• Resources explaining the history and traditions of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany
• Optional daily email with Scripture readings for the church calendar
Because this is meant to be an intimate community, this journey is limited to 20 participants.
The cost for these six weeks is $150 per person (only $25 per week).
If you register by November 15, you’ll receive the early bird rate of $125 (it’s like getting one week of the course for free).
Please note this is a co-ed retreat.
Thank you for your interest. I hope you can join us next year.