Our first challenge in this year’s Love Life Live Advent is to make a special place in the house – somewhere where we can focus our thinking and praying on the themes of the Advent season. It’s a wonderful idea – a sacred space, right in the heart of the home.
My son had a different take on this. His plan was to have a portable ‘pray station’, as he called it. He busied himself in his room for a while, and then asked if he could come and set his pray station up in my room. Of course he could.
What he brought was this:
Two bath towels
The glass candle holders we had made at children’s chapel on All Saints’ Sunday
A handful of tea lights
A box of matches (for which he had asked permission!)
And he sent me out of the room while he set everything up. When I was allowed back in, the lights were off, and the matches were ready for me to light the candles. He’d put the tea lights in the glass candle holders, and the candle holders on the tea towel in the middle of the floor. The bath towels were folded and laid on the floor in front of the tea towel ‘so we can kneel down without hurting our knees’.
And we did. We knelt down, and lit the candles, and he said we were going to have some silence, then some prayers. And we did. And it was lovely. At the end we blew out the candles, and he packed everything up again, and put it in a bag ‘for next time’.
Why tell this story? Because much as we will be setting up a ‘special place’ at home, where we can think about Advent as a family, it also seemed like a lovely idea to have a portable ‘pray station’ too. Something we can take with us wherever we go – perhaps not as bulky as the one my son made with the bath towels, but something that can come with us, perhaps if we’re commuting, at work, away on business, rushing about doing housework, or shopping, or doing the school run, whatever it is that we find ourselves doing.
It might even be something you can carry around on your phone – why not download the ‘Pocket Common Prayer’ app so that you can join with thousands of others in daily prayer? Or set up a photo album on your phone, and take a picture every day to put in it of something that’s reminded you to stop and be still – a spider’s web with dew on it, a pine cone, leaves on the ground, a crisp winter sky….
I am working from home at the moment, so I’ll be encouraging my children to think about a portable ‘special place’ that they can take to school. Even if it’s something as simple as a battery powered candle in the side pocket of their school bag, or the paper ‘door’ from that morning’s advent calendar….
So, where will you put your ‘at home’ special place? And what will go in it?
And what can you take with you to help make everywhere you go feel special?