Day 1


Here is a list of words to work with for Advent: 

Waiting! Expectancy! Patience!



What things are you expecting in your life? My friends Dante and Darnel were expecting their first baby. For nine months they waited and when the time was right, their beautiful baby daughter was born. Sometimes we know when the things we are expecting will actually happen…sometimes we do not know.


ADVENT is a time when we know something is going to happen, but we are not sure when. One of the themes of ADVENT is the theme of waiting…Waiting on the sunrise; waiting on the weekend; waiting on family to arrive; waiting on the Christmas Concerts, the Christmas Trees, the Christmas Carols. 


As we wait this year…as the days of ADVENT unfold, pray about the things you are waiting for and we will hope as we wait…that in God’s time, all will be revealed. My friends Darnell and Dante waited and now they have their bundle of joy. 


We pray for joy in hundreds of ways for each of us as we live the days of Advent.



Loving God, we hate waiting…we are impatient and always ready to run ahead and look down the road, around the corner and under the trees…hoping against hope, that we will find you ahead of us. Your time and our time are often at odds: You know the plans You have for us…we don’t. You know the good things that are coming our way…we cannot even imagine what that will look like. 


You walk beside us with a steady pace…we run and stop and turn around to look and then run some more. Slow us down, Patient God. Help us to see the beauty of walking slower, resting for a bit and being refreshed by the scent of a night Jasmine, or the fresh juice of a lemon, or the smell of rain falling on the earth. Give us sleep, when we are tired with eyes that refuse to slumber; 


Give us peace, when our hearts beat fast, and adrenalin pushes us forward and hold us tight when every stronghold around us is slippery and unsure. 


Loving, Patient, God…the God who directs our steps and speaks tenderly to our hearts…journey with us in our Advent quest…show us stars of beauty: bright stars, stars that will guide us, stars that will inspire us, and brighten our journey, step by step, day by day as we journey toward hope and surprise. Amen!




I spent my childhood in the small settlement of The Current in North Eleuthera in The Bahamas. I grew up in the little Methodist Church there and Christmas was the most special time of the year for us. A lot of activity was centered on the Annual Sunday School Christmas Programme. The young people in The Brethren Church in The Current enjoyed similar activity. We certainly prepared for Christmas. For five or six weeks we prepared, learning recitations, producing plays and singing songs.


In those years, and I admit it has been a long time, we did not know about ADVENT as a liturgical season in the Christian Year. We did not realize that there were certain hymns in our hymn book to sing on the first Sunday of Advent and we did not understand then that all our preparation and anticipation were on target as we prepared for the coming of The Christ Child. All that was important to us was the fact that Christmas was coming, and we had to be ready!


I had no idea…we had no idea that we were actually doing the work of Advent…GETTING PREPARED! GETTING READY! PLANNING SOMETHING NEW! SENSING THE JOY!


This is our task for ADVENT: Prepare! Get Ready! Incubate the New! Welcome Joy!

I would love to hear your stories of Advent both then and now! At least share your stories of Advent with someone today!




The Season of Advent is a good time to pray our prayers. I have always found that it is easy to pray my prayers on drives around the city. With eyes wide open it is possible to name out loud our concerns and name out loud the people we are led to pray for.


Praying Our Prayers does not require us to be quiet or stand still. Have you ever thought about going into the supermarket and thinking ‘I have 19 people in my spirit to pray for today’! How about purchasing 19 items in the supermarket? Each of the 19 items you take off the shelf and put in your cart, you say the name of one person on your list!


Another good place to offer your prayers is when you are on the line waiting to get to your desired goal for the day. With every step you take, focus on one of the areas of concern, thankfulness or a person you are praying for.


Another method can be to divide your prayer concerns into Morning, Afternoon and Night. This may require you to write down your prayer subjects in one or the other periods of your day. In the morning…all morning, focus on the people, causes, concerns that you have assigned to the morning. Likewise with the afternoon and night.


And for those who like to walk, there is a kind of walking I call ‘SOULFUL WALKING’. Sadly, this is best done alone. Plan your walk in an environment that will allow you to stop every 20 minutes. Begin you walk focusing on and praying for a number of your concerns or points of gratefulness. In 20 minutes (or less) stop for a few minutes and change focus. For the next 20 minutes focus on and pray for your second list and then rest again and then begin again!


Whatever we do and however we do it, prayer is our constant companion. There is never a place, an opportunity or a moment when we cannot pray our Advent Prayers!




Are you finding yourself frustrated in these early days of advent? If you are, you are not by yourself. Frustration seems to be a constant companion in our lives. There are a number of reasons for this.

Sometimes we are frustrated because people in our family, those we work with or others who are in our group of friends, do not seem to understand us anymore. People we were close to in another period of our lives, seem distant and uninterested in what is important for us.


Sometimes we plan too many projects, activities and events in our lives. When I was much younger one of my friends often told me: “Reg, it may come as a surprise to you, but your body is flesh and blood, not iron and steel.” It was hard for me to hear my friend’s concern those days, but now my physical body hears those words very clearly. If we are over committed, we may limp into Christmas or meet Christmas sick in mind and body.


ADVENT is a time for aligning our inner and outer worlds. It there is frustration in excess in our outer life, chances are we are in need of slowing down and taking a look inside to see what is causing our distress.


Moving towards Christmas seems to bring additional external and Internal pressure. It is not unheard of to have arguments with our spouse, our parents, our best friends, our coworkers during this period of progressing toward Christmas.


On the day before the second Sunday of Advent, we can take time to see if our inner life and our outer life are aligned. This can be one of our great miracles…our work in this area of our lives will bring about magical renewal!




ADVENT is a time of stories. The Christmas Story is made up of a number of individual stories. This makes the Christmas season rich in drama, human activity and some of the most incredible stories for hundreds of years.


There are stories about shepherds; stories about wise men; stories about a pregnant teenage girl; stories about donkeys and cattle, about stars and mangers and stories of angels!

There are also stories of amazement, heartwarming, kindness and welcome. There are stories about gift giving and people worshipping.


Then, there are our stories. Our stories are important also. Our stories of how and when we were born; our stories of our growing up in Nassau, in Eleuthera, in Bimini, in Exuma or in Canada or England or the USA. There are our stories of graduating from college, having our first grandchild, our first time being in the hospital, the first time we baked a lemon pie!


Now is the time to tell your story. However you can do this, just do it! Write it, record it, tell it, share it. Your story is a story of how you came to this very point in your life. Your story is a story of where you have come from…the mountains you have climbed, the rivers you have crossed and your steps through the valleys in your life. It is made up of interesting characters: Grandmothers, Aunts, Cousins, Children…teachers, friends. Every aspect of your life is a story that can encourage someone experiencing similar troubles or celebrating similar joys!


I’m inviting you to tell your story this ADVENT! Believe me, once you begin this process, you will be amazed and maybe surprised by the wonderful, beautiful person you are!




ADVENT is a good time for us to make an assessment of our lives. Christmas is a week before the New Year and the time when we usually make new assessments, agreements, covenants and resolutions. Why not begin during the Advent Season as we prepare for Christmas Day?
An honest assessment of our lives will include all aspects and it will require us to be candid with ourselves. Here are a few areas for us to begin to form the questions that can give us insight as to how well we are doing.
1. Physical. How do I really feel? How is my energy? Am I out of breath frequently? Do I consume too much food? Alcohol? Sugar? Do I monitor my blood pressure?
2. Emotional. Are the things I do not, or cannot share with someone else growing in number? Am I mostly sad or mostly joyous? How many people still upset me terribly with just the mention of their name? How am I dealing with grief and matters of loss and sorrow? Are there incidents of depression?
3. Financial. Am I spending money irresponsibly? Can I enhance my income? If I am retired, can I work at a parttime job? What is my consciousness about supply and abundance like? Am I giving back sufficiently? Do I help people who are genuinely needy.
4. Spiritual. Are there empty pockets in my spirit? Has my understanding of God changed very much since my childhood years? Am I religious or am I spiritual? How would I describe my prayer life? Do I have more times of discontent than times of feeling contentment?
Give yourself this gift in 2022. Check up on yourself. You are never too old or too young to grow. I wish for you an ADVENT of transformation and love.




We often have pictures in our minds of how we expect life to be. I have often said to myself and to others, “Aim High and you will reach your target.” Sometimes though, our expectations are unrealistic.
ADVENT is a time for reviewing the situation and putting our expectations through the expectation challenge. Here are a few aspects of the expectation challenge that I hope will be helpful for us this Advent Season.
– Do your expectations depend on people changing to meet your
demands? If they do, then the expectation may be unrealistic. The
only people we can change is ourselves.
– Are your expectations depending on you making immediate and
radical change? I know this can happen for all of us, but many
times we have to begin where we are and continue to grow our
expectations. I remember a quote that goes something like this:
“The person who moves mountains begins with removing lots of
little stones first.”
As I write this I am wondering if it is conflicting with my belief that we are all makers of miracles and capable of accomplishing whatever we wish to accomplish. I am also aware that many times we sabotage our expectations by not being willing to make the changes necessary to make those things possible. But I don’t think so!
What I would like to do is to encourage all of us to set realistic expectations and continue to build on all those things we are able to accomplish.
I believe all things are possible when we believe. May we continue to be engaged in the spiral of our lives and continue to move on to greater levels of joy and well-being!




Most days I think I am strong: I can do all I have to do and take care of people, help with the housework, clean the lawn and walk a mile or two.
Some days I feel good: I eat well and drink lots of water and sleep well and I’m content and happy.
Other days I don’t worry too much; I take things in my stride; I feel like a winner…I’m positive and accommodating, open and hospitable.
But today! Today, God, I am not like I am most days, some days or other days. Today…Dear, Gracious God, I need HELP!
I feel so alone, so fed-up, so dejected; I’m tired of working, tired or getting up every day to do the same thing over and over; tired of cooking, tired of cleaning up after meals, tired of taking out the garbage, tired of…I’m just tired. Tired of listening to the stories…tired of building up courage, only to be discouraged again.
Help me God! In this time of hope and expectation…I will wait patiently for You! AMEN!




Millions of dollars will be spent in the next few weeks on gifts. Some will cost thousands of dollars, and some will be priceless!
I love receiving gifts, but I think I enjoy giving gifts even more. There is a special kind of joy in gift giving and I want to encourage you to be intentional in your gift giving this year.
I have so many stories about Christmas gifts. I know of friends who never ever get it right. They will give a pair of shoes (often too small or too big). Or, they may give a shirt that is 5 sizes either too small or too big. I bet you have your stories also.
If you are giving a gift, it is important to ask a few questions, here and there. If you do not know specifically the likes and dislikes of your friend, cousin or aunt, then there are a number of generic items that most everyone will welcome. Gifts like plants, candles, a basket of gourmet teas, a basket of biscuits and cheese. Flowers are another good choice or a gift card to be used at a nice restaurant.
If you are giving a gift, make it special. Have you noticed how some of the higher end Department Stores have specialty Christmas wrapping paper and exotic bags and boxes? The reason for this is to raise the vibration of gift giving. If a gift is wrapped in gold foil gift wrapping paper, it just has to be special!
And finally, how about giving a gift to a person who will not necessarily give you a gift in return. I had one of the most amazing experiences a few years ago in a pharmacy in Nassau. I met an older man there who was about to pay for his prescriptions. I asked the cashier to let me pay his bill and I did. The man was overwhelmed and so grateful. When I arrived home with my bag of filled prescriptions, in the bag was a 5-coupon gift card from Star Bucks with a note saying, “One good deed deserves another…Merry Christmas!” Needless to say, I was touched to the core. I will never ever forget the wonderful lesson I learned that day.
ADVENT is about giving and receiving gifts…and what better time to change our gift giving habits. Try not to give a meaningless gift this year. It’s better to wait until you find the most fitting, unique and meaningful gift for the important people in your lives…and I’m sure if you give your friend a gift in January, they will be very happy.



 I have heard a number of quotes about growing or moving ahead. One saying goes like this: “If you are not moving ahead, then you are slipping backwards.” Another one: “You never stand still; either you are moving forward or falling backward.”
I want to share a few ideas for our spiritual growth during this season of ADVENT.
One: If you are not doing this already, begin a personal journal. I believe in this method, and I have had it work in my life during periods when I have been intentional about my growth. Journals are personal and unique to each person, and they can take on whatever flavour you wish. You may want to write a prayer for each night or you may want to write an affirmation for each day. Another wonderful area is to begin a gratitude page. Each day write down three things that you are grateful for that day.
Two: Do something for yourself each day. Selfish? No way! Use this activity as a reaffirming activation of your personal worth and in celebration of the wonderful person you are. Make it fun! Go out to eat by yourself and dress up, be as radiant as possible and select a wonderful restaurant and from the time you enter the establishment live your future life and be a person who believes in abundance and love.
You may want to take a three-hour vacation. Visit the beach, a museum, a local historical site and fully engage in every little thing you usually miss.
Three: An hour of quiet each day. Find a place where you can be totally quiet for an hour each day. Just do it. Let your thoughts go and I am sure you will soon make this a practice for your life in 2023.
Four: Do something at least once a week that you don’t usually do or something that will challenge you. If you have never painted on canvas…paint on canvas. If you are inhibited in dancing…dance by your self with your favourite music playing as loudly as possible. If you have never planted a rose bush, go and purchase one and plant it in memory of the person you have been all your life. Tomorrow, plant another one to celebrate and honour the person you are becoming.
We must continue to move forward in our lives. Standing still allows opportunities, joy and blessings to pass us by.
I will promise you, that if you do even some of the activities I have recommended, within days, you will feel so alive and so close to God, until it will be hard to believe! Isn’t this what the spiritual life is about? I’m sure it is!



Today I welcome my cousin, Mrs. Margie Elden-Sorley as a guest contributor for DAY THIRTEEN in my series PRAYERS AND THOUGHTS FOR ADVENT. Many people in The Bahamas will have known Margie’s mother, the late Mrs. Rowena (Rowie) Elden of The Current, North Eleuthera. Margie is a retired teacher and presently lives in Lubbock, Texas. She and her husband Jim are active members in St. John’s Methodist Church in Lubbock.


So, here we are in the Christmas Season, which has a tendency to divide us into two main opinion camps. Do you fall on the side of “the most wonderful time of the year” group or the “Bah humbug” group, like Ebenezer Scrooge. Maybe, you sit on the fence, depending on the day and the traffic. Does the season stress and depress you both emotionally and financially, or do you hit the ground running, eager to find that “perfect” gift for loved ones and excited about the many festivities you will attend?
In the song “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Christina Rossetti and Gustav Hoist the soul-searching question is asked, “What can I give him Poor as I am?” Seems like others may feel like some of us. To which the reply is, “Give him my heart.”
In that stable thousands of years ago only the wisemen came with costly gifts. The angels brought their voices and the shepherds their lambs. The franticness of our society would have been drowned out by the cattle lowing, the heavenly brightness and singing of the special night, and a newborn baby’s cry.
So, in this commercialism of sacred time I encourage you to think of the many forms gifts of the heart can take. In my neighborhood and church family there are people who would treasure an in person visit or phone call to break up the loneliness of the day. A young mother would give anything to have an hour to herself to do nothing but read a book or soak in the tub. A kid may enjoy you playing games with them, going for an ice cream or watching a movie with them. A family is trying to cope with an incurable disease that takes every spare minute at the hospital… no time to cook meals, do laundry, or tidy the house. 
An elderly neighbor has lost their mobility but their dog still needs to be walked or their lawn mowed. Yes, I know the gift of time can in itself cause stress because you are already stretched so thin. But, what do people really need? Many times we end up giving or receiving gifts that were neither needed or wanted. All the storage buildings that people rent or buy are a testament to that.
So, take a deep breath, look at your list and change your mindset. YOU are the gift! Or in the words of a popular Mariah Carey Christmas song, “All I want for Christmas is YOU.”
Wishing you peace and joy in all the small moments this Christmas and in the coming New Year.




On what date did you begin listening to Christmas music this year? Did you wait until after the Thanksgiving Holidays?
I began earlier this year. I needed to have an encouraging day and I decided to begin playing my list of Christmas Music.
Christmas and The Season of Advent, I think, holds the record for songs, hymns, carols and music…more than any other season of the year. Although in church circles we have hymns for Lent and Hymns for Easter, their numbers are relatively small and confined to religious worship and practice. We won’t walk in the mall on Easter Saturday and hear Easter songs and Hymns playing through the music speakers.
Please share with us your favourite Christmas Carols. Songs or Hymns. I believe I like them all. My least favourite is The First Noell. I have a good friend who claims the Carol I like the least as his favourite.
We can do something fun in Advent: Make a list of your favourite Christmas Carols and commit to playing them from YouTube, your C D Player of downloading them on your phone. Use one of your favourite Christmas Carols each day as the foundation point for your Advent Prayers, Devotions and meditations.



Commercially, Christmas targets children. Many of our celebrations involve children. The toy Industry is huge at Christmas. Families and Churches, Schools and Institutions remember children in the lead up to Christmas.


Children feature in The Christmas Story. The very beginning is a story about a baby being born. I am often amused in churches when sometimes a baby cries, or a child gets tired of sitting quiet for an hour. I realize it is disturbing but I often wonder if we remember the role that a baby and a child played in the story of Christmas. I am much more upset when a cell phone rings loudly in a worship service.


Despite all the good things that will happen in many homes and schools and churches this Christmas for the children among us, thousands of children will be ignored, abused, mishandled, forgotten, rejected and in some cases, they will end up hungry, homeless and desperate on Christas Eve and on December 25!


Gia Knowles, Youth Worker at Ebenezer Methodist Church in Nassau told me a story this past week: She met up with a family during the Covid close down and one of the teenage boys told her he was not interested in church or talking with her about it. When she told him the name and location of her church, his expression changed and he shared that when he was a little boy, he attended Ebenezer and one Christmas in a service at the church, the adults gave Christmas gifts to each of the Children in the church that day. He had never forgotten that gift and his memory of the event changed the trajectory of Gia’s ministry with this family.


Why not make this ADVENT about the children in your neighbourhood? On the Street where you live? In the church where you worship? It’s probably not too difficult for each of us to find one or two children to give a gift to this year. It may well be the only gift they receive.



Commercially, Christmas targets children. Many of our celebrations involve children. The toy Industry is huge at Christmas. Families and Churches, Schools and Institutions remember children in the lead up to Christmas.


Children feature in The Christmas Story. The very beginning is a story about a baby being born. I am often amused in churches when sometimes a baby cries, or a child gets tired of sitting quiet for an hour. I realize it is disturbing but I often wonder if we remember the role that a baby and a child played in the story of Christmas. I am much more upset when a cell phone rings loudly in a worship service.


Despite all the good things that will happen in many homes and schools and churches this Christmas for the children among us, thousands of children will be ignored, abused, mishandled, forgotten, rejected and in some cases, they will end up hungry, homeless and desperate on Christas Eve and on December 25!


Gia Knowles, Youth Worker at Ebenezer Methodist Church in Nassau told me a story this past week: She met up with a family during the Covid close down and one of the teenage boys told her he was not interested in church or talking with her about it. When she told him the name and location of her church, his expression changed and he shared that when he was a little boy, he attended Ebenezer and one Christmas in a service at the church, the adults gave Christmas gifts to each of the Children in the church that day. He had never forgotten that gift and his memory of the event changed the trajectory of Gia’s ministry with this family.


Why not make this ADVENT about the children in your neighbourhood? On the Street where you live? In the church where you worship? It’s probably not too difficult for each of us to find one or two children to give a gift to this year. It may well be the only gift they receive.




Today I am happy to welcome my dear friend Mr. Louis W. A. Hanchell as a guest contributor in my series: Thoughts And Prayers For Advent! Louis has been a good friend for over 40 years. A former member of Ebenezer Methodist Church, he now worships at St. Mathew’s Anglican Church in Nassau. Mr. Hanchell has a long service record in Broadcasting; he served as the General Manager of The Broad Casting Cooperation prior to his retirement.


I love my neighbourhood, where the Spirit of Christmas is lived out every day, year-round. I love it more especially at Christmas time when the decorations are all up and the chorale comes singing merry songs.


Most of my neighbours are environmentalists who are happiest in our gardens tending our exotic plants and gorgeous trees. When some walk their dogs, they stop for a chat; and those from the old school hold conversations over our fences and share special food, home grown fruit and produce in season.


We love it because of its diversity: many races, different cultures and religions, living side by side in harmony. We practice traditional crime watch; we look out to ensure our safety and the common good. Like the prophet Isaiah encourages us to do in chapter 41 and verse 6 of his book, “They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.” We show the real spirit of Advent and Christmas in our giving and caring.


We have lived in our house for 48 years and I confess that I was very reluctant to move here. My Mother, the late Effie Archer and my sister, the late Helena Dorsett worked in walking distance and for their convenience I agreed. Then too it is only a short distance from where I worked.


The house came with its name already attached, “CALCARIA”. Many times I wanted to change it, but it was already on all the important documents and so it remained. In early July 2019, an English couple, straight off a British Airways flight, walked from downtown several miles away to see the place where she was born. She identified herself as the daughter of the original owner and builder and said it was named after the village in The North of England where her family has deep roots. She also said her father was a teacher on the Staff of Queen’s College, the Methodist Church School, when she was born.


There are a few other names which are more suitable to our house, such as “The Inn of The Seventh Happiness”, or “Under the Mango Tree”, because of the big tree that gives shade to the patio, or “Mummy Effie’s House”, as generations of my mother’s grandchildren and their children still call it. They say that it is a warm and welcoming place, specializing in tasty home cooked meals and mouthwatering desserts prepared by my mum and continued as a family tradition. She taught me how to cook some, but not all to ensure my survival.


“The Spirit of Advent and Christmas” is our trademark and we welcome friends and family all the time to come and dine, at the table, or under the mango tree.

It is our obligation to offer hospitality to The Household of Faith. Prayers and “the Breaking of Bread” are duly observed, especially now, as we advance in age. One of the true joys of our living is to entertain and welcome people to our Home and so we are never hardly alone, or lonely.

We always made a point in inviting persons who might have been left alone at Christmas to come and dine with us at Christmas time. We still do and so should you when there is more than we can eat or drink.


Share the joy as Jesus commands us in Matthew 25. Feed the hungry. Comfort the homeless. Help the poor and be blessed.



It’s never too late to begin again is the title of a book written by Julia Cameron; she is also the author of THE ARTIST’S WAY. In her book IT’S VEVER TO LATE…Cameron encourages those people who feel that their life has ended with the loss of a job, retirement, the death of a loved one or financial difficulties, to begin again.


I have read stories of many people who have begun a new job, wrote a book, found a partner in life or fulfilled many of the items on their bucket lists in the senior years of their lives.

ADVENT is a good time to begin again. It is not easy for some; for others it is easier. Each day we have a choice: Do I do what I did yesterday and the day before? Or, do I step up and step out and doing something different?


Our ‘lights’ do not go out when we turn 50 or 60 or 70 or 80…or 90. I believe ADVENT is about making bright the places where we are placed.


It is common when in South Florida to see very elderly men and women, dressed-up and going into restaurants for the Senior Dinner Specials before 6:00 p.m. I have seen some of these people being accompanied with portable oxygen tanks and push carts. My take-away from observing them is that they will not give up but will keep pushing (literally) until they are unable to. I don’t see that attitude and determination so much in The Bahamas. I would love to see it. We do see some examples coming to church and I always like to see this.


Maybe you can ‘come alive’ in ADVENT. This is a time of deep reflection, quiet time, waiting, being patient and preparing for change. Can we ask the Spirit of God to shine a bring light on a new path ahead for each of us. IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO SEEK A NEW PATH. Despite how we may feel, we have to keep going!


A simple prayer can be the words of the song we sang many times at Camp in the summers. ‘Guide My Feet While I Run This Race!”


May I encourage us, everyone reading this reflection to use this as your Mantra today: IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO BEGIN AGAIN!





Gentle God, Comforting God,

We pray a prayer for lonely men, and we pray a prayer for women who find themselves spending time only with themselves…

No voices to say hello –

No noise in the kitchen –

No doors slamming, no dishes gathering in the sink!

Gentle God, Comforting God,

We pray for those who throughout the day and especially at night make up conversations with invisible guests and pretend companions…when the longing for a good night hug is met with silence and the desire to hear footsteps in the hallway can only be imagined…

No one to make a cup of tea for –

Not one to sleep late or get up at the crack of dawn –

No one to give presence to the emptiness and new life to what is dying.

Gentle God, Comforting God,

It’s lonely in this place…or is it a place? It feels more like walls…cold, stone walls, stony and cracked, a barrier to light…a chill against warmth.

Gentle God, Comforting God,

We pray for mothers alone with a sick child…hoping for company, praying for healing, hoping every minute to rest her weary soul as she welcomes sleep and dreams that tell a different tale.

We pray for dads who are absent and still lonely, and we pray for those dads who have the courage to stand alone.

We pray for teenage boys, young women, grandmothers and strangers in a strange land…for those who have struggled for so long and those who fear the darkness of the night.

Gentle God, Comforting God of Advent…

Come and abide with lonely souls…

Come and bring your presence to all those places where solitary people dwell in desolation…alone…and even now, are praying that you will bring comfort.

Gentle God, Comforting God, be close to those who are lonely we pray! AMEN!




“And ye, beneath life’s crushing load

Whose forms are bending low,

Who toil along the climbing way

With painful steps and slow –


Look now! for glad and golden hours

Come swiftly on the wing:

O rest beside the weary road

And hear the angels sing.

(Edmund Hamilton Sears, 1810-76)


It came upon the midnight clear, is one of the most beautiful Christmas Carols in existence. The man who wrote the carol was born 212 years ago. Every Advent Season, the invitation to travelers on life’s journey, the world over is given every time we sing this carol…the invitation to ‘rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing’.

Do we dare listen? Can we become quiet enough and can we tune our souls to hear the singing of the angels?


My friends who know me well know that I am a believer in Angels. This Christmas I have replicas of angels hanging on my tree, hanging from the chandler oven the dining room table and angles over other places in my home.


My favourite Psalm is # 91. There is a verse that that puts the truth very clearly: ‘God shall give God’s angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways’. You may ask, ‘Do angle’s help to care for us, my answer is definitely yes!


I believe we can hear the Angels sing during this ADVENT Season. Angels sing every time a faithful person feels like giving up and prays for the strength to continue. Angels sing every time a child cries in pain from hunger or mistreatment. Angels sing in places where all hope has left us, and we can only rely on God. Angels sing when God dwells among us.

The song of the angels is always a song of peace; the song of angels is always a song of ‘all, all is well.’


I wonder if we can trust ourselves enough to sit in quiet contemplation, wherever we are; if we are weary and worn and feel like moving on let’s listen for the Angel’s song. If we are suffering quietly and cannot talk about our pain, let’s listen to the angels sing.

May the Angels sing to us during this Advent Season!





A good friend of mine recently used the illustration of wet clothes in a dryer to describe how she felt some days. She said, “it’s the feeling that It’s not quite wet or quite dry…it’s an in-between feeling where you cannot quite put your finger on what is wrong but you know something is wrong and all the time you are being ‘tumbled’ around and you are unable to get a hold on anything secure that may prevent you from being tossed around similar to how clothes are being thrown around in a dryer!”


That is one of the best illustrations I have heard in a long time. I would venture to say that all of us are having days like that this ADVENT Season. We feel out of sorts but not quite sure what is wrong. We may think we need to rest or maybe we need lots more sleep. Some people will say they haven’t had sufficient water intake for the day. Other’s will acknowledge that they worry too much.

And, like the tumble dryer…our lives keep on going around and the intensity of the heat seems to increase…it feels like there is nowhere to go and many times we cannot escape.

I believe that these are the times when we need to call a ‘time out’ and do something completely different.


Life Coaches will tell us that it takes intentional behaviour on our part to combat our tendencies for depression, procrastination and being stuck. Even the least little thing can help us. Some people will respond well to some form of exercise; some will respond to manual work, like mowing the lawn and others will rejuvenate by taking a long nap. They all emphasize the need to get up and do something different, even if that is buying a new piece of clothing or simply purchasing an ice-cream cone.


ADVENT is a time for taking a break from the heat of our lives. We may need to push the reset button and embark on a path of self-care for the next week or two.


Doing something for yourself soon. A simple action can be as small as buying a new candle or planting a flowering shrub in your garden. I believe you will be blessed as you move forward to affirm your worth and the beauty that is deep within your soul.




On this Fourth Sunday in Advent, I am happy to welcome my friend Pastor Jennifer Carey as a guest writer for our reflection today. Jennifer is a Bahamian, a descendent of Tarpum Bay, Eleuthera. She is presently serving as pastor of two churches in The North Georgia Conference of the UMC. Jennifer and I recently enrolled in the two-year course in Spiritual Direction with The Haden Institute in N.C. We graduated in March 2022. Jennifer’s reflection is a bit longer than previous reflections, but I believe you will enjoy every word.


My favourite part of Christmas is the singing! I can almost hear my mother’s voice as her beautiful melody rang through the house on Christmas morning as she cooked and prepared, pausing only long enough to sternly say “Alan, No!” as he tried to steal a slice of her freshly baked ham, hot out of the oven. My mother could sing anything, and on Christmas morning, she usually sang pieces from the Ebenezer Christmas concert of which she was a part. As a Soprano singer, she often took on challenging pieces that many would shy away from, but not Germaine. She had the gutsy courage to sing not only difficult pieces of music, but she also had the courage to sing the beautiful song of her life…But this is not about my mother today….this is about another mother – Mary – who had the courage to sing her magnificent song.


My first memory of Mary came early on in life when I was in first grade at Queen’s College. We were preparing for the school Christmas pageant, and I was assigned the part of Mary. I am not sure how I came to be selected for this starring role, as I was a shy child, but my teacher Frances Honess must have had a reason. Perhaps because the role of Mary did not have any speaking parts and I need only sit there and look petrified (which I did quite well).


In the weeks leading up to the pageant we practiced in the primary quad preparing for our debut. On opening night teachers, fellow students and parents armed with Polaroid cameras gathered around the wooden stage in the quad eager to see this bunch of first graders act out scenes from the Nativity of Jesus. All of the key actors were present and accounted for – Shepherds, Angels, Mary (yours truly) and Joseph played by my classmate Rhys. The stage was set with the traditional props of manger, star and cardboard sheep and everyone, on cue, sang the beautiful “Shepherds Rocking” carol…everyone, except for me. I don’t know why I didn’t sing that night, I only remember sitting there, shy as could be in my costume (handmade by my mother) with the light blue mantle draped over my head, clutching ever so gently, the tightly swaddled baby Jesus.


This precious memory of Mary has remained with me over the years and she has always held a special place in my heart, especially during Advent. We know from Luke’s Gospel that after Mary’s angelic encounter and her immaculate conception, she entered into a period of waiting. Perhaps it was a petrified waiting; after all, she was a young, unwed girl from a conservative small town and religious family – who among us wouldn’t be petrified? Perhaps this is what drove her to seek out the comfort of her older cousin Elizabeth. Or perhaps it was the news that cousin Lizzie was miraculously with child too, and she had to go and see for herself. While we don’t know why Mary went, we do know that through the meeting of these two women, both pregnant with promise, a blessing is bestowed and in response, a song awakens in Mary’s heart, and what is roused from her lips is her song – a song full of life, hope, peace, joy and love.


I don’t know why I didn’t sing all those years ago sitting front and center on that stage. I knew the words by heart, I knew the melody….perhaps I didn’t have the courage, in front of all those people, to sing. Strangely though, I have struggled to sing ever since…not church hymns or Christmas carols – I have no trouble singing someone else’s songs, but I have struggled to sing the song of my heart, the song of my life.

We all have a song to sing with our lives. For some people, like Mary and my own mother, singing one’s song came naturally as they each lived out their purpose on earth. Other’s of us, like myself, struggle to live in harmony with the melody of our own hearts. Over the years I have found it easier to sing someone else’s song – the songs given me by my family, society and the church. I have discovered though, that these songs are not mine to sing and are not in tune with my life’s song.

As a pianist, I can say it is much easier to play music composed by the greats like Bach and Mozart than it is to create your own music. I remember sitting at the piano as a child playing freely, making up my own music and songs. I don’t think anyone else in the house thought it was beautiful music, but it was to me – after all it was my song, and I had the courage to sing and play and create.


There is something about singing our life’s song that is scary and soul-revealing. There is great risk involved if we are to show our whole self, our deeper self to the world. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to be transparent and vulnerable, especially in environments (family, society, church) that do not support or encourage authentic expressions of self. The risk, however, is well worth it if we truly desire to live and sing our melodious life’s song with gutsy courage and passion.


On this fourth Sunday of Advent, I challenge you to listen for your life’s song that is awakening in your heart. May you let it emerge in such a way that is authentic to who you are. Get in tune with the life you are meant to live and rise each morning walking in rhythm to the music reverberating in your heart.


That strong spirited girl found the courage to sing her life’s song…..may you find it as well.

May it be so. Amen.




I picked up these words from a good friend of mine during a conversation recently.

We were talking about how busy life is and how much we do every day; each day we seem to have more to do than the day before.


We are busy cooking; busy shopping; busy driving; busy with the children; busy with church; busy helping with our non-profits; busy, busy, busy and still we don’t have peace!


ADVENT is a time of waiting, instead it has become a time of being busy!

ADVENT is a time of reflection, instead it has become a time of rushing around and getting involved in endless projects!

ADVENT is a time of rest and preparation, instead it has become a time of exhaustion and weariness!


Most times, all the busyness of our lives is not necessarily leading us anywhere toward peace of mind, well-being and wholeness. The thing we long for most…PEACE, seems to be yet another activity away, or another event to attend tomorrow. We continue doing things, hoping against hope that soon, we will get to the place where we can stop, rest and enjoy life. I’m sure we all know by now that is not the case.


We often rest when we become too ill to continue our mad busyness! We often stop when our physical bodies refuse to be pushed any further and stubbornly say enough is enough!

This is the pattern of the life that many of us have created, and I am the first one to admit, this is the life I have created! I have been so busy in the last few weeks until I hardly know when one day ends and another begins. Sometimes during the business, I often ask myself, WHY? Does this really make sense? And still, I continue with no end in sight.


Yet, Spirit will remind us that God speaks most times in the stillness…in the quiet…in the times when we are relaxing with a cup of tea, or walking on a beach, or sitting in the garden or being reflective gazing at the lights of the Christmas Tree.


If we haven’t heard God speaking with us for a while, it may have to do with the fact that our lives are too busy to hear the whisper!


There is such a thing as being too busy!


In the remaining days in ADVENT can we take a moment to slow down and rest? Take a minute to listen to the message of Christmas: We are loved, and we are enough! God loves us just as we are, we don’t have to do anything!


That’s all we need to know!




Some of the people we know are not looking forward to Christmas and ADVENT is a time of grief for them, rather than a time of hope and excitement.


People who are grieving through ADVENT are those people who have had their lives turned upside down because of a major loss that has occurred and shattered something that was precious and meaningful to them.


Grief is caused by the death of someone close to us. Grief is also caused by loss of any kind: Loss of a job, loss of a friendship, loss of income, loss of physical function, loss of a pet. No one can tell us that our particular type of grief is not important. No one knows as well as we do the many particulars, memories, regrets and losses that combine to make our hearts sad and our souls heavy. It does not matter how much our friends and family tell us to ‘get over it’ or to ‘stop feeling sad’! It is not easy to remove the cloak of sadness from our shoulders that was placed there against our will.


When someone we love leaves us either by way of death or by way of walking away from a relationship, a friendship or by divorce, the pain is always worse at special times in the year. Birthdays, Anniversaries, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day…each of these special days and seasons fill us with dread and we find it difficult to find the joy of the season or the joy of celebration.


I believe that we can recover from loss…loss of any type. It doesn’t happen magically though…it requires a lot of work on our part, and it is not an immediate recovery. Sadly, some people never recover, and they continue to live their lives in a defeated way based on what their life was like before their loss. We cannot live our future lives from our past!


Here are a few tips to help those who are grieving their way through ADVENT. One, rearrange your life into one-day segments. Getting through one day is better and easier than getting through a month or even a week. Two, every day, find something about your loss that you can affirm, even if it sounds false to you right now. A simple statement like: “I am grateful for the time we were happy together”. Three, each night before you sleep, love yourself and say to yourself, “Things are going to get better for me” and Four, Tell God how you feel.


Some teaching on grief indicates that getting involved in helping someone else in any manner of ways, may be a good therapeutic way to being a process of healing.

I believe you will find that day by day, there is a little progress and even if one day you find your grief overwhelming you again, don’t despair; this usually happens. It is not a matter of putting of a brave face or being upbeat or positive but rather a radical determination that you have the inner power to take your life back and find joy again.


ADVENT places us at a joyful time of a new baby being born, people bringing gifts and angels singing. The cycle of life though, shows us that grief was also a part of this joyous season…the baby who was born, also died and the happy new mother became a mother grieving the cruel death of her son.


For this ADVENT and as we move closer to Christmas Day, let us all pray for people we know who are grieving this Christmas Season. We pray our prayers to God who walks beside us, offering comfort and joy!




This is the first time I am writing about having fun. Many of the reflections during this Series: THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS FOR ADVENT have been reflective in nature…this is good!


Today I would like to address the matter of having fun! I don’t know if you are anything like me in this regard, but I often wonder when I am dining in restaurants or travelling, I usually see groups of people having lots of fun; they are laughing uncontrollably and lots and lots of people seem happy, carefree and having fun. One of my friends told me one night, “That’s because they are all intoxicated!” Maybe! Maybe not!


I have found that the most difficult way to have fun is to sit in a group of people with similar life experiences and talk about various subjects. I can almost say with certainty, such a setting will not be a cause of fun and joy. I have also observed couples dining in restaurants who do not even talk to each other…they just sit there on their phones, or they eat in silence! One of the ways to plan for fun is exactly that…plan for it!


The times when I have had the most fun at parties, gatherings and get-togethers are the times when we plan a number of fun activities, games and quizzes that can draw out even the most introverted of people. Fun activities can level the field, and everyone can participate and enjoy themselves.

Here are a few activities that may cause your Christmas gathering to go from low-level engagement to high energy!


One: A personal Treasure Hunt. Ask your guests ahead of time to bring as many personal items as they can get in a carry bag…things like, nail clippers, chap stick, a neck tie, a shower cap, a bar of soap…whatever they can think of. Draw up a Treasure List and after dinner, begin the game. Certain items can have higher value. Guaranteed to bond people together.


Two: Set up a Fortune Table. Cover items with gift boxes on the table and each person chooses a gift box until all are selected. You can have lots of surprises under those gift boxes…things to do, like ‘sing a verse of Little Drummer Boy’, fun items, and one of two high end gifts. This one is always fun. Be creative with the items.


Three: M & Ms. Give each person a bag of M & Ms and assign a colour to each person. The aim is to negotiate with other players for a trade for your colours, either by direct exchange or by way of payment of another kind. The goal is to become the person with the most M & Ms.

Why have fun? Many people have not had a good laugh for a long time. It is healthy and good for us, physically, mentally and spiritually. If there is anything we need at this time of celebration, we need joy, fun and laughter. Smiles and laughter will certainly make our burdens a little lighter and will increase our well-being!


Remember back when you were most happy…I am sure your happiest times were when laughter was frequent, and life was a lot more fun! Let’s try it this Christmas.


As the chorus admonished us in our childhood years: SMILE AWHILE AND GIVE YOUR FACE A REST!




We will soon be saying goodbye to the year 2022! Some of us will be happy to see this year end. For others, it may be that this has been a good year. Some people have made a lot of money this year, others have lost their jobs. Some people have welcomed a beautiful little baby boy or girl in 2022, others have said goodbye to their best friend or most loved relative!


It is still sufficient time left in this 2022 year for a lot to happen for us…hopefully all will be good. What we do know is that when the bells ring at mid-night on December 31, 2022 will be a year in history. Whether we are happy or sad, poorer or richer, sick or well…the year will be in the past and no matter how hard we try, we will not be able to do anything about the events, our mistakes and the regrets we may have had during 2022.


Are you ready to say GOODBYE to 2022?


I’m working on a list of some of the things we can say goodbye to as we approach the brand new 2023. Here are some thoughts from that list:


– Say goodbye to spending money for unnecessary things.

– Say goodbye to spending time with people who do not have time for you.

– Say goodbye to feeling sorry for yourself.

– Say goodbye to participating in a bad diet and eating unhealthy food.

– Say goodbye to letting other people’s opinions control your life.

– Say goodbye to guilt.

– Say goodbye to trying to please others

– Say goodbye to hoarding…paper bags, boxes, old clothes, jars and bottles, plastic containers and anything else that is beginning to occupy too much space in your home.

– Say goodbye to always apologizing for not being enough or good enough!

– Say goodbye to treating others better than you treat yourself.


Before I end this series THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS FOR ADVENT on Christmas Eve Day, I will share a list of some of the things we can welcome and embrace in our lives as we leave the Season Of Advent 2022. ADVENT is all about moving on…letting go of the unnecessary weights that hold us back and rob us of our joy! It is a time of preparing to venture into the new and welcome brand-new possibilities and the new light that will shine on our path!




Christmas Eve will conclude this series, THOUGHT AND PRAYERS FOR ADVENT! I have enjoyed writing these reflections each day. since the first day of Advent, Sunday, November 27, 2022. I especially appreciate three of my friends who contributed a Reflection for the Series: Mrs. Margie Sorley, Mr. Louis Hanchell and Pastor Jennifer Carey. I appreciate your partnership in this venture.

Hopefully this series will be published in a new Advent/Christmas Resource Book for 2023.


Mr. Clint Higgs has posted each day’s reflection on Thank you Clint.


Thanks to all those who have written comments and shared with me during this Advent Season. Rev. Ruth Dowson (Rev. Dowson spent many years in The Bahamas and is now a Priest with The Church of England…and a popular author in The U.K.) sent me this message today: “I’ve been inspired by your daily posts – I quoted you in my sermon a couple of weeks ago.”) That was heart-warming, Rev. Dowson, thank you!


My aim was to share thoughts and prayers on Advent. In one of the Reflections, I shared about my childhood in The Current, North Eleuthera…we did not know about ADVENT as a season of The Christian Year, but unknow to the 150 or so residents of that small settlement, we observed ADVENT as we prepared and waited, planned and practiced and built excitement for the celebration of Christmas. It remains one of the most anticipated and wonderful seasons for me and I know for many.


Just because we prepared, meditated, reflected and waited, it doesn’t mean we will not be challenged again and again in our life’s journey. The question we are all ask at some point is: “How do we embrace the challenges in our lives?”


Here are a few thoughts that form a part of my Credo as of late:


– Taking care of ourselves is a personal spiritual assignment. Let me say what I mean. Many of us have spent our entire lives caring for other people; making sure everyone is cared for; listening to our friends…helping them process and helping them find solutions for their problems. Meanwhile, our personal problems are often pushed to the back burner, our own lives become ragged, lack-luster and worn out. One of our greatest challenges is to switch this picture, write a new script and embrace new possibilities in our lives. It is not selfish to think about and improve your life. You will be surprised, I believe, how things will change for you when you begin to make your own needs a priority.


– Practice saying NO! We don’t have to attend every event, every church service, every birthday party, every friend’s call for help. It is okay to say NO every now and then…or to say NO a lot! Please do this for yourself before it is too late.


– Embrace a sense of adventure. If you don’t have a ‘Bucket List’ it may be fun to make one! If you can do one thing in 2023 that you have wanted to do all your life, please do that one thing!


Simply put, Look out for yourself. Make you the most important person to you.


A long time ago I read a book by Dawna Markova, “I WILL NOT DIE AN UNLIVED LIFE.” At the time of reading this book, it changed my life in positive ways. Here is a poem ‘FULLY ALIVE’ from the book:


“I will not die an unlived life.

I will not live in fear…of falling or catching fire.

I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise.

I choose to risk my significance to live so that which came to me as seed, goes to the next as blossom, and that which came to me as blossom, goes on as fruit.”


This is our ADVENT challenge! This is the challenge of our lives!




I believe in Miracles! I do! I have seen them happen in my life and in the lives of other people. Sometimes Miracles are one hundred percent supernatural. Sometimes, Miracles are performed or brought about by human agents. I believe we are all capable of being Miracle Workers.


Miracles are not limited to small, large, huge. Miracles of every size happen every day.


Biblical Miracles offer an array of miraculous happenings. There are many arguments for and against. A more liberal exegesis of Miracle passages in scripture may search for ways to explain every recorded Miracle recorded in scripture. A more fundamental approach to biblical exegesis may present each and every miracle as a supernatural happening brought about by the power and intervention of God.


However, and by whatever means Miracles happen, I am right there affirming, celebrating and saying “YES!” to Miracles happening all around me and for you as well.

What Miracles have happened in your life? What Miracles have your caused to happen in the lives of others?


On Christmas Eve Morning a good friend of mine was in the Supermarket. She began putting her groceries on the belt when the gentleman behind her in the line spoke to her and said, “I am, paying for your groceries today, Ma’am.” And then he asked the cashier to add her groceries to his bill. My friend was amazed and wanted to resist and was told it was his Christmas Blessing for Christmas Eve and for her! They were strangers.


Miracle? I believe so. Sometimes Miracles are gentle events, just to remind us that the source of our well-being comes for God and while we may be having a hard day and wondering if our money will stretch over the holidays, there comes a man who is willing to spread some joy and manifest a miracle in the busy Supermarket in The Bahamas!


What still amazes me is that people will protest their miracle. I understand it but I believe we may need to switch from being skeptical about Miracles happening in our lives to believing that Miracles can happen any day, any hour…and to any and everyone!


It is only one story of hundreds where I have witnessed people joining forces with God to make bad situations better, to provide Miracle funds to someone requiring surgery or to wipe the eyes of a crying child and offer comfort and dispel fear!


Our journey through ADVENT has offered challenges, reflection and hopefully comfort. Now we are ushered into Christmas Morn, the day of the Greatest Miracle when God choose to live among us!

The well-known hymn says it this way: “I believe in Miracles…because I believe in God”!


I would say it is impossible to believe in God and not believe in Miracles.


A Benediction on the DAYS OF ADVENT may be spoken loudly or whispered silently:

“May the Miracle God, who made wine from water and made blind eyes see and by Miracle power, transformed the ordinary into the extraordinary, fill you with anticipation and joy.

May the Miracle God, open heaven’s storehouse of blessing on your life and cause you to never doubt, never give up hope and to do your best to remember that you are loved and you can be the best Miracle Worker that you can be.”


Merry Christmas Everyone! Many Blessings!