Peace and joy ... and what to do if you're blue

Dear Middleway Urban Monastery friends,

We're more than halfway through the Advent season, but there's still time to reflect on what all the season means for you. For adults, this time of year can begin to seem like a lot of work and preparation -- from food plans to gifts. For the younger ones, it can seem like a long wait until Christmas morning. Advent actually is a time for both, but in a spiritual sense. Prepare your own souls by partaking of some of the options we are providing to offer hope, joy, peace and love. And add in some waiting. Wait for 5, 10 15 minutes a day or as much as you can carve into the schedule. Wait in silence. Let everything just wait on you. It will wait, and you will be restored.

Our Advent offerings continue as we enter the third of four weeks leading up to Christmas. In addition to our regular schedule of daily prayer and centering, we have added weekly mediations, and a devotional for children.

But, is Christmas season a bummer for you? If so, join others who feel the same at our Blue Christmas event in downtown Bryan. Details below.

Read about what's in store below. Make a note to check them out on our Facebook group page or website.

Blue Christmas at The Art of War in Bryan, Dec. 23

While everyone else seems to be going through the season with great joy, you may be just going through the motions or even trying to avoid participating in any of it at all. You aren't alone, especially this year. To help each through this time, Middleway Urban Monastery will host an in-person Blue Christmas Service on Dec. 23 at 5:30 p.m., outside on the steps of The Art of War, 419 N. Main, Bryan. The event, led by Aneya Elbert and Heidi Campbell, can be found here. It will also be live streamed from our Facebook group page.

Children's Advent devotional continues

Each Sunday through Advent as the children in your family start to settle down to prepare for the coming week, introduce them to a special series of weekly devotionals written and led by Dr. Heidi Campbell. At 4 p.m., Campbell gathers children on the Facebook group page to share an Advent story and encourage them to think about the spiritual side of the season leading up to Christmas. If you miss it at 4 p.m., no worries. Campbell's stories are posted and can be visited with the kids in your life when it's convenient this week.

Meditations offered on the weekly themes of Advent

Our special Advent meditation series has begun. Dr. Amy Thompson guides participants each Sunday at 5 p.m. on the theme of the week. Today's meditation, the third week of Advent, can be found here. It is available throughout the coming week.

Book club continues on Tuesdays

The last book club meeting for 2020 will be Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. We will conclude the study of "Following Jesus: Finding Our Way Home in an Age of Anxiety," by Henri Nouwen. This week: Chapter 6. The next book will be announced soon, and the group will begin meeting again after the holidays.

Plan come on Zoom at: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86289918385?pwd=SjcwUW5NMlZnWUtlNFFYd01waVZzUT09 Meeting ID: 862 8991 8385 Passcode: 164675 OR find your local number to dial in: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kdizMlCaXm

How to Visit Middleway Urban Monastery

If, for whatever reason, you feel "spiritual but not religious," or you no longer have a church or you are just "done" with organized religion, no worries. We do not ask you to join the FB group page in order to participate. Just come to the monastery online as often as you want. We're about providing you space to seek hope, comfort and peace as you explore ways of experiencing God’s love. You're a "member" if you are receiving this newsletter. All are welcome, so share as you like.

Imagine our Facebook public group page as a physical building. When you enter our URL, facebook.com/groups/TheMiddlewayUrbanMonastery, it is like opening the door of a physical building, because you will find all that is offered there.

Likewise, you can come to our website and explore the offerings, including links to our Twitter and Instagram accounts, if you like those formats and want to follow.

For the time being, our monastery is online only. We plan to eventually offer a physical space in Bryan, Texas. Even then, however, we will continue to offer our prayer times, meditations, centering, contemplation and various workshops and retreats online and led by spiritual directors and leaders around the Bryan-College Station, Texas area. Participants are welcome from around the world.

If you know others who would like to "join," ask them to subscribe to our weekly newsletter by going to https://www.middlewayurbanmonastery.org/contact and entering their email address at the Subscribe button on the lower right.

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