Do you miss the set-apart rhythm of the weeks leading up to Christmas? Do you miss the encouragement to give generously? Do you miss the music? Do you miss retelling the story of God with us, a different kind of king born in humble vulnerability? Do you miss the rhythm and rituals: a tree, candles, prayer? I know a family whose young child still insisting in late January that the advent candle is lit and the special angel song is sung at mealtime. I for one don’t miss the rush, the stress, or the mess. But I do long for those holy quiet moments, the shimmering glow of love and joy, and the rhythm of generosity grounded in God.
For centuries, those who follow Jesus have intentionally shaped their rhythm of everyday life around spiritual practices of prayer, Bible study, service, and worship. Reorienting ourselves to God can be a daily way of living, not just at Christmas, but the whole year through. Sure, some days we will get mired down in dirty dishes, jobs that demand more energy than we have, carpool, and unopened bills. That’s why emphasizing the “practice” in spiritual practice is important – we aren’t going to get it right all the time, but with intention and repetition, by God’s grace, our lives will be reshaped and reoriented with each little, daily step.
A new picture book, The Very Best Day: The Way of Love for Children, is a beautiful and inspiring resource for families seeking everyday spiritual practices that shape a life oriented to the love of God. Beautiful poetry, vibrant painting, and wondering questions accompany seven spiritual practices. I greatly appreciate the everyday-ness of this book. Big emotions, tying shoes, eating a meal, and playing outside are all part of a daily life lived in love, a way of love that renews our own lives and has the power to transform a hurting world.
Perhaps you first heard about The Way of Love during Bishop Curry’s sermon at Prince Harry and Meghan Markel’s wedding. The Episcopal Church is creating a rich library of resources that may inspire all those who follow Jesus to adopt a new daily rhythm grounded in God, the source of love and life.
“If you don’t believe me, just stop and imagine. Think and imagine a world where love is the way.” Imagine our homes and families where love is the way. Imagine neighborhoods and communities where love is the way. Imagine governments and nations where love is the way. Imagine business and commerce where this love is the way. Imagine this tired old world where love is the way. When love is the way – unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive.” — Bishop Michael Curry