Greetings from the Journey Center staff!
The Advent season begins this Sunday and we invite you to join us in a movement away from “busyness and hubbub” and toward a simpler and more peaceful experience of the month ahead. The important thing is not that we are really good at this already, but that we are longing for this.
Notice your own desire when you stop, breathe and think about the upcoming weeks and what they mean to you. Perhaps you want to:
·Experience the season with childlike wonder
·Let go of stress and embrace simplicity
·Focus on relationships rather than tasks
·Walk slowly rather than speed madly
·Experience the presence of the One who knows you, loves you and is with you
We believe that one simple key in the movement toward a different kind of December is to choose to be in the present moment. That’s where God is…and that’s where peace is. In any given moment, rather than dwelling on what’s past or focusing on what’s coming in the future, try taking some slow, deep breaths and noticing what is around you. Use all your senses to take it in, and don’t forget to check in with your heart. Even five minutes in the present moment, as you can, will offer you the discovery of the contemplative gifts you will find there… peace, joy, love and hope.
At the Journey Center, we slow our pace and offer a few simple gatherings. Please consider joining us for:
·Advent Reflections: A Candlelight Contemplative Gathering: Sundays, December 9, 16 & 23; 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. During this busy season, we gather each Sunday to create space for the Holy and receiving the gifts of joy, peace and hope. All are welcome, from all spiritual paths, for this time of beautiful seasonal music, contemplative readings and prayerful meditation. In the Christian tradition, the season of Advent is the month preceding Christmas and is meant to be a time of reflecting on the meaning of the coming of the Christ-child. Facilitators: Joanna Quintrell and other Journey Center spiritual directors; gifted musicians and vocalists from our community. Cost: Free View the Advent Reflections poster
·Blue Christmas Contemplative Gathering: Friday, December 7, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. This contemplative gathering allows for a quiet time of reflection in word, song and prayer –focusing on God’s presence and comfort for those who grieve the many losses experienced over the past year. For many people, the holiday season does not bring the joy that is advertised. They may be facing a holiday after the death of a loved one, the anguish of broken relationships, the insecurity of unemployment, the weariness of ill health or the pain of isolation. Perhaps they have been unable to have a child or have suffered through an emotional trauma. Or perhaps they feel pressured and overwhelmed by holiday preparations. Our Blue Christmas Contemplative Gathering offers an opportunity to experience a quiet time of hope and celebration in the midst of suffering or stress. Come and experience the healing presence of God’s love during a season that may be very “blue” for you. Facilitator: Dan Beach, spiritual director; Cost: Free View the “Blue Christmas Contemplative Gathering” poster
·Chanukah & the Festival of Lights: Saturday, December 8 (6:30p – 8p) Gather to learn about the Jewish celebration of Chanukah, its’ origins and how it is observed. We will light the Menorah, enjoy some light refreshments and discuss the Christmas tradition of stringing lights. We will carpool to a local Santa Rosa neighborhood known for its’ outdoor light display and take an easy stroll. Facilitators: Sylvan Eidelman and Julie Miller. Cost: $5 View the “Chanukah & the Festival of Lights” Poster
Please note that the Journey Center will be closed for two weeks during the holidays: December 17-January 1. Some of you enjoy purchasing Journey Center gift certificates for friends and loved ones, giving them the gift of resources for their spiritual journey, and we wanted you to know that these will be available between now and December 14 at the Center. (And, in case this might interest you, I just got an email today from John Hanses, whose beautiful large-format photography is currently featured in our gallery, letting us know that he is offering 40% off all his work during December).
May you experience peace and grace in all the “present moments” that lie ahead in the month of December!
Joanna Quintrell and the Journey Center staff
The Journey Center
1601 Fourth Street,
Santa Rosa, CA 95404