Why? Because I am finally going to doodle one of Sybil Macbeth’s Advent calendars, and my mom, daughter, and granddaughter are going to do it too! We’re going to share our Advent creations Christmas Eve! (Please forgive the excess exclamation points; I truly am excited.)
Who is Sybil Macbeth?
Reading Praying in Color revolutionized my prayer life. What Macbeth teaches and practices is prayer through drawing, writing, and coloring—essentially, mindful doodling.
For me, this practice has helped me to pray when I have more feelings than words to speak. Her drawing, coloring, writing practice has also helped me pray for longer amounts of time, stay focused, and pray with greater depth.
What is Sybil Macbeth’s Advent Practice?
At its most basic, Macbeth’s practice for the season of Advent is to doodle/meditate/pray each day through the three-plus weeks before Christmas.
She has developed a variety of creative grids that have a spot for each day’s prayer/meditation, which she shares, for free, on her site https://prayingincolor.com/handouts. My family and I have all chosen to do the Christmas tree template, but there are several others—including calendar-style rectangles and a “stained glass window” baby Jesus.
Macbeth also recommends multiple ways for using the Advent grids each day:
- Write the name of a loved one in a space and pray exclusively for them.
- If you are using a devotional book, choose a word from your reading upon which to pray and meditate.
- Because Advent is a season of hope, you might use each space to doodle what you hope for, not just tangible items, but hopes and dreams for yourself and others as well.
- Since Christmas is the holiday that celebrates Christ’s birth, you could use each space to reflect on one of the many names for Jesus—wonderful counselor, prince of peace…
Last year, Macbeth shared an article she’d written for The Living Church, “Year-round Advent,” in which one of her suggestions was to make a list of words you associate with the Advent season and select one to doodle in the day’s space. I was excited to try this strategy. Macbeth and The Living Church provided a list of words and quickly brainstormed some more:
I planned to use an index card for each day, but got derailed very early in the season by illness. Here is one of the cards I did make:
(Sorry for the crooked scan, at the time, I never thought I’d be sharing it.) A new Advent word list is posted on the Building Faith website, here.
For my Advent Tree, I want to doodle prayers for loved ones and some Advent vocabulary. I’m planning to alternate from one to the other each day.
How do you celebrate Advent or count down to your family’s holiday? Please use the comment box, below, to share your favorite practices. Let’s celebrate a December filled with love and goodwill, and of course, let’s ever continue to encourage one another!
P.S. Our schedule at Literate Lives will be a little different this upcoming month. In order to bypass Christmas, instead of blogging on the first and third Thursdays of the month, Literate Lives will come to your inbox on the second and fourth. Have a wonderful holiday season!
For more on Sybil Macbeth, check out Praying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God by Sybil Macbeth.