Taking time to enjoy the true meaning of Christmas

Dear Middleway Urban Monastery friends,

We're just days from Christmas, but we still have some offerings for you in this fourth week of Advent.

If you're one who gets a little sad at this time of year ... and especially this year ... please join us Wednesday, Dec. 23 in person (masked and socially distanced) for our Blue Christmas service. Details are below.

The last of our weekly Advent devotionals for children and mediations are available now on our Facebook Group page. Take a few minutes to enjoy now or any time this week.

Then, beginning on Christmas Day, check out 12 Days of Christmas with a meditation and carol presented by Amy Thompson. These will continue through Epiphany, Jan. 6.

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. To help each other 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. The final devotional was published today and will remain available on our Facebook Group page. This helps children (of all ages) recall the spiritual side of the season leading up to Christmas. Campbell's stories are posted and can be visited with the kids in your life when it's convenient.

Meditations offered on the weekly themes of Advent

Dr. Amy Thompson's final guided meditation is available on our Facebook Group page and also our YouTube channel. For less than 10 minutes, you can sit back and let Thompson gently lead you in a meditation on a theme of Advent: joy, peace, hope and love.

Book club takes a holiday

Our book club, which met weekly beginning in August, has finished three books. We will take a break until Jan. 5. The next book will be announced soon.

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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