Archive for the ‘Advent’ Category

Opening The Advent Door

December 12, 2016

Crossing the ThresholdImage: Crossing the Threshold  © Jan Richardson

Friends, I want to make sure you know that during this season, I’m over at my blog The Advent Door. I would be delighted for your company there! My latest reflection is “Advent 3: In Sorrow and Celebration.”

In these Advent days, I send you much gratitude and many blessings. See you back here at The Painted Prayerbook in the new year!

At The Advent Door!

December 18, 2015

MagnificatImage: Magnificat © Jan Richardson

Friends, I have been remiss in posting a note here to let you know that during this season, I’m over at my blog The Advent Door! I would love to have your company there as we travel toward Christmas. In addition to reflections for the Sundays of Advent (including this coming Sunday, Advent 4), I have recently posted an article that shares some of my journey in traveling through this season with grief. The article is titled “This Luminous Darkness: Searching for Solace in Advent and Christmas,” and you can find it here.

In the days to come, I’ll be sharing reflections and blessings for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Then I look forward to being back here at The Painted Prayerbook in the new year!

Sending much gratitude and so many blessings to you in this sacred season.

At the Edge of Advent

November 24, 2014

End and BeginningImage: End and Beginning  © Jan Richardson

Advent, almost! With the new season beginning this Sunday, it’s time to head over to my blog The Advent Door, where I’ll be offering a few reflections during the coming weeks. I’ve posted a new reflection there for this Sunday; you can find it here: Advent 1: Blessing When the World Is Ending.

I’m especially excited to be launching Illuminated 2014, our all-new online Advent retreat. The retreat begins this Sunday, and if you haven’t already registered, I would love for you to join us! The Illuminated Retreat is a wonderful way to enter into Advent without stressing your schedule. There’s info below, plus a couple more things I want to share with you as the season begins.

ILLUMINATED 2014
This online retreat is not about adding one more thing to your holidays. It is about helping you find spaces for reflection that draw you deep into this season that shimmers with mystery and possibility. Offering a space of elegant simplicity as you journey toward Christmas, the Illuminated Retreat fits easily into the rhythm of your days, anywhere you are. Begins November 30. For info and registration, visit ILLUMINATED 2014. Individual, group, & congregational rates available. A great gift for yourself and others!


Jan Richardson Images

ADVENT SPECIAL AT JAN RICHARDSON IMAGES
The Jan Richardson Images site makes my artwork available for use in worship, education, and other settings. You can download single images or sign up for an annual subscription, which gives you unlimited downloads for a year. During Advent and Christmas, we’re offering a festive discount on annual subscriptions: for just $125, you can sign up for an artful year (regularly $165). The site offers many images for Advent, Christmas, and beyond. More info at Subscribe to Jan Richardson Images. You can also order any of the images as an art print!


Interview

INTERVIEW WITH FAITH & LEADERSHIP
I talked recently with Faith & Leadership about Advent, art, grief, and our call to be people who put the pieces together. Read the interview here in the Advent issue of their online magazine.

Blessings to you as Advent arrives!

An Illuminated Advent – 2014

November 7, 2014

Illuminated Advent Retreat

For the past six weeks, I have been on My Big Road Trip. It has been such a gift to take to the road, with little agenda or schedule, and receive the treasures of hospitality and solace I have found on the path between Florida and Canada. Now it is nearly time to return home. As I prepare to go, I’m so aware of traveling not only toward Orlando but also toward Advent, with great anticipation as I dream and imagine what the coming season might hold.

I am eager to begin the all-new online retreat that I’m offering for Advent, and I would love for you to join me! If you are hungry for a simple way to move deeply into this season, this retreat is for you. Some details are below, along with a link to our main info and registration page for the retreat.

ILLUMINATED 2014: An Online Journey into the Heart of Christmas
November 30-December 27
All new for 2014!

Are you hungry for an experience that invites you into Advent without stressing your schedule? This online retreat is not about adding one more thing to your holidays. It is about helping you find spaces for reflection that draw you deep into this season that shimmers with mystery and possibility. Intertwining reflection, art, music, and community, this online retreat provides a space of elegant simplicity and a distinctive opportunity to travel through Advent and Christmas in contemplation and conversation along the way.

This is an Advent retreat for people who don’t have time for an Advent retreat (and for those who do!). You can easily enter into it in the way that works best for you, from anywhere you are. You don’t have to show up at a particular time or place, and you’re welcome to engage the retreat as much or as little as you wish. This is for you: a space to breathe deeply and to experience renewal that will make a difference in how you move through the season.

Individual, group, and congregational rates are available. You can also give the retreat as a gift! For retreat details, FAQs, and registration, visit Illuminated Advent Retreat.

Blessings to you as Advent draws near!

Beloved: A Blessing for Garrison Doles

December 10, 2013

Best Day Ever

O my dear friends. For those who don’t already know, I need to tell you that my beloved husband slipped peacefully from this world on December 2, enfolded in the love and presence of our family and the encompassing of the God who entrusted him to us. I don’t need to tell you that I am heartbroken beyond imagining. Please know that the prayers you offered for Gary and all of us provided such solace and sustenance during our vigil with Gary, and will continue to do so as our family finds our way through the coming days. Months. Lifetime.

We held a service to celebrate Gary’s life last Friday afternoon. It was heartbreaking and hopeful and wonderfully beautiful. It included much music. Gary’s amazing son, Emile, in whom Gary’s gift of song lives strong, opened the service by singing Gary’s song “Raise This Hour.” Gary’s also-amazing brothers sang, and Gary’s own recordings, including two guitar meditations he created for our Illuminated Advent Retreat, provided the opening and closing music. I can’t tell you enough to do the service justice−how honoring it was of Gary and how much solace it provided for mebut I want to share with you some words I wrote for that day. This is a brief remembrance and a blessing for my remarkable, beloved husband; for those who gathered to remember and grieve and celebrate; and now for you. Our dear friends Peg and Chuck Hoffman, who had so recently shared in our wedding, read these words for me.

Remembering

In the entirety of my life, what I am most proud of is this: that when Gary Doles crossed my path, I recognized him. Every single day, I knew what I had in him. This also means that I know all too keenly, with the precision of a knife’s edge, what I have lost, and all too soon.

I think we have all been carrying the sense of how horribly unfair this is. And it is. In the midst of my devastation and desolation, I have also been remembering some of the stories that Gary would tell me about his life. I won’t tell you the stories just now, but I will tell you that it is a marvel and a miracle that Gary Doles survived long enough for me to meet him. And for that I give thanks. Along with the heartbreak, I will always carry such deep gratitude for the years we had together, and for the extravagant grace of loving and being loved by him. Still.

After Gary died on Monday, surrounded by the prayers and the presence of our remarkable family, I stayed in the room as his nurse removed everything that had helped to keep him alive during the awful and beautiful vigil that we had kept with him for eighteen days. I watched as she removed the ventilator tube that had kept him breathing, watched as she took out the seemingly innumerable lines that had delivered medications. Finally Gary was shed of everything that had kept him living, everything that had tethered him until it became clear that nothing would return him to us. I placed my hand against his chest, and commented to the nurse that it felt so strange to feel a heartbeat, and know that it was only my own pulse. She said, “His heart beats in you now.”

In me. In us. Thank you for being part of the life of my husband whose heart beat with such strength and continues to echo in us still.

Where Your Song Begins Again
A Blessing

Beloved,
I could not bear it
if this blessing ended
with the final beat
of your heart,

if it left
with the last breath
that bore you away
from here.

I could not stand
the silence,
the stillness
where all
had once been song,
had been story,
had been the cadenced liturgy
of your life.

So let it be
that this blessing
will abide
in the pulse
that moves us
from this moment
to the next.

Let it be
that you will breathe
in us here bereft
but beloved still.

Let it be
that you will make your home
in the chamber
of our heart

where your story
does not cease,
where your words
take flesh anew,
where your song
begins again.

Advent and the Unexpected Vigil

November 23, 2013


Image: Heartbeat Liturgy © Jan L. Richardson

Friends, you may have already heard this news through another place or person that connects us, but in case you haven’t, I want to share an update with you and ask for your prayers. My amazing husband, Garrison Doles, is in the midst of a medical crisis that has turned our lives inside out. Last week, Gary went into the hospital to address a brain aneurysm that had been discovered during the summer (in a fluky fashion, in the process of checking out something else that proved not to be a problem). We had hoped he would be able to have a less invasive procedure called coiling, but the aneurysm proved too complex, and he was taken into surgery. During an eleven-hour surgery, Gary had a stroke, and has had two additional surgeries to address brain swelling. He has been in a medically induced coma and will be emerging from that over the course of the coming days.

We don’t yet know the extent of the damage from the stroke. Based on what Gary’s remarkable neurosurgeon is telling us, there is cause for great concern and great hope. I would be tremendously thankful for your prayers and good thoughts for Gary, his wondrous medical team, and our families.

Some kind folks have asked about the online Advent retreat that Gary and I were planning. I’ve decided to still offer it, with the understanding that it will look rather different than we originally planned. I find myself reluctant to give up the chance to walk through the coming season in the company of kindred spirits.

If you’re interested in entering Advent with your eyes wide open—looking honestly and anew at seemingly familiar Advent themes such as mystery, waiting, hope, keeping vigil, and longing for light in the deepest darkness—and if you’re game for a bit of adventure and uncertainty about what it will all look like, then this is the place for you. I’d love to travel in your company.

I’d be grateful if you would let other folks know about the retreat by sharing a link to this post or to the retreat overview page (Illuminated Advent Retreat) via Facebook or anywhere else you’re connected. This would be such a wonderful gesture of support for Gary and me in this time. Most of all, I would be so tremendously thankful for your prayers in these days of keeping vigil and beginning to navigate a road that we never imagined traveling.

I send you much gratitude and many blessings as Advent approaches.



Illuminated Advent Retreat

An Illuminated Advent

November 4, 2013

With the Feast of All Saints behind us, it can mean only one thing: Advent is around the corner! As we look toward the coming season, I am especially excited about an adventure that is shimmering on the horizon: our Advent retreat! This year Gary and I will be offering an all-new online retreat for Advent and would love for you to join us. We had such an amazing experience last year of journeying with hundreds of other folks who, like us, wanted to travel through the season with mindfulness and grace. We are eagerly anticipating setting out on the Advent path in good company once again.

If you’re hungry to travel through the season in a way that allows thoughtful, creative spaces of calm to naturally arise in the rhythm of your days—instead of seeming like just one more commitment in what can be a frenzied season—this retreat could be just the thing for you! Here’s the lowdown:

ILLUMINATED 2013: An Online Journey into the Heart of Christmas
December 1-28
All new for 2013!

Travel toward Christmas in the company of folks who want to move through this season with mindfulness and grace. This online retreat is not about adding one more thing to your holiday schedule. It is about helping you find spaces for reflection that draw you deep into this season that shimmers with mystery and possibility. Intertwining reflection, art, music, and community, this online retreat provides a space of elegant simplicity and a distinctive opportunity to travel through Advent and Christmas in contemplation and conversation with others along the way.

This is an Advent retreat for people who don’t have time for an Advent retreat (and for those who do!). We’ve especially designed the retreat so that you can easily enter into it in the way that works best for you. You don’t have to show up at a particular time or place, and you’re welcome to engage the retreat as much or as little as you wish. This is for you: a space to breathe deeply, to enter into some creative rest, and to experience renewal that will make a difference in how you move through the season.

Group and congregational rates are available. You can also give the retreat as a gift! For retreat details, FAQs, and registration, visit Illuminated Advent Retreat.

Blessings and peace to you as Advent approaches!

Beginning

November 29, 2012


Image: Drawing Near © Jan L. Richardson

Very excited to be beginning Advent this Sunday! I wanted to share a quick reminder that the online Advent retreat that Gary and I will be offering begins this Saturday. There’s still time to register, and we would love for you to join us. You can click the icon below to visit our retreat page, where you’ll find an overview of the retreat, which goes from December 1-29. Know that we’ve designed the retreat so that it’s not simply “one more thing” to add to the holiday schedule, but rather something that slips into the rhythm of your December days and invites you into a bit of reflection and breathing space in the midst of the season. And it doesn’t require showing up at a particular place or time. You can do this retreat in your jammies!

Don’t forget to also check our FAQ page if you have questions, or challenges that might cause you to hesitate to register for the retreat. If you’ve already registered, there’s nothing else you need to do just yet.

I’ve also posted my first reflection of the season at The Advent Door; you can find it at “Advent 1: Drawing Near.” The Advent Door is where I’ll be hanging out, blog-wise, during the coming season, and I’d be glad to have your company there. If you’re not already an Advent Door subscriber, you can sign up to receive the Advent Door blog posts via email; check out the “Subscribe by email” box in the sidebar (near the top, just above the cover for my Night Visions book).

Blessings to you as Advent arrives! I wish you a wondrous season.

Almost Advent

November 21, 2012

It’s almost Advent! As we prepare to cross into the coming season, I am especially excited about what Advent holds in store this time around. At the top of my list of things that are inducing Advent excitement is the online Advent retreat that Gary and I will be offering. Here’s the skinny:

ILLUMINATED: An Online Journey into the Heart of Christmas
December 1-29

Travel toward Christmas in the company of folks who want to move through this season with mindfulness and grace. This online retreat is not about adding one more thing to your holiday schedule. It is about helping you find spaces for reflection that draw you deep into this season that shimmers with mystery and possibility. This retreat offers a space of elegant simplicity, much like the one created in my Advent book Night Visions. Intertwining reflection, art, music, and community, this four-week online retreat provides a distinctive opportunity to travel through Advent and Christmas in contemplation and conversation with others along the way.

This is an Advent retreat for people who don’t have time for an Advent retreat (and for those who do!). You don’t have to show up at a particular place or time, and you’re welcome to engage the retreat as much or as little as you wish. You can do this retreat in your jammies!

We’re excited that the retreat is already drawing folks from around the world. We’d love for you to be among them. For more info about the retreat, visit Illuminated Advent Retreat.

I have other treasures, treats, and resources designed especially for your Advent path; I invite you to stop by The Advent Door to find out more. During Advent, that’s where I’ll be posting new reflections. I look forward to journeying through the season with you there, and returning to The Painted Prayerbook for Epiphany.

Blessings and gratitude to you as Advent approaches!

Into Advent

November 22, 2010


Where Advent Begins © Jan L. Richardson

The elves and I are busy in the studio, happily painting and plotting as we prepare for Advent to begin this Sunday. During the coming season, I’ll be posting new reflections and artwork over at The Advent Door instead of here at The Painted Prayerbook. I’ve already added a couple of entries there and would be delighted for you to stop by. I’m planning to post at The Advent Door several times each week and look forward to sharing the coming days with you. I have lots of other resources for Advent and Christmas; you can find out more here.

I am also thrilled to say that my new book, In the Sanctuary of Women, was published last month. You can find more info and place orders on the Books page at my main website, where inscribed copies are available by request. I have also launched a companion site for the book at sanctuaryofwomen.com. More than just a site about the book, sanctuaryofwomen.com is designed to foster conversation and community through such features as the Guide for Reading Groups and the Sanctuary blog. I’d love for you to visit!

And if you live in central Florida, please join us for a special holiday evening to celebrate the book’s publication. The gathering will be Friday, December 3, at 8 PM at First United Methodist Church of Winter Park (near Orlando). For further info, visit Sanctuary Celebration.

In this week in which we celebrate U.S. Thanksgiving, know that I am grateful for you. Many blessings to you as we cross into Advent.