Retreat days for Advent

Thursday 2nd or Saturday 4th December 2021

If you want,
the Virgin will come walking down the road
pregnant with the holy,
and say,
“I need shelter for the night,
please take me inside your heart,
my time is so close.” 

St John of the Cross

Advent is a time of waiting. A birth is due and, like all births, is full of promise, expectation, and imagination of how life will be when… This is as it should be. Birth is a sign of hope.

The danger is that we preempt the particularity of this birth with a known narrative and, because we have been through it so many times before, think we know what it will be like. The story grows old. We make plans, put up decorations, and start buying presents in October.

In this retreat, we will explore what it is like to let go of what we think the story is and to wait without rushing to the final act.

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.

TS Eliot, East Coker

We will inhabit the inner landscape between memory and metaphor through the biblical stories and their resonance with the thresholds, waiting, and ‘births’ of our own life. We will ask, “Who and what wishes to be born in our hearts this year?” We will listen to our hearts which, “if you want,” can be “pregnant with the holy.” We will offer “shelter” to what we find.

I will lead some prayer and meditative reflections. There will be times to think, reflect, and pray alone. There will be gentle, safe, and optional opportunities to talk with and listen to a few others.

I am offering this day twice: Thursday 2nd or Saturday 4th December. There are 24 places each day. If you are interested in attending, please email (or use the Contact Page) saying whether you prefer Thursday or Saturday, or are equally happy with either day. (Please check your spam folder for my replies and whitelist this email address.)

Venue: Zoom sessions interspersed with times alone
Dates: Thursday 2nd or Saturday 4th December 2021
Times: 9.45am–5pm GMT
Cost: £35 (This is the suggested contribution. Please pay what you can reasonably afford.)


These are handouts to go with the Advent Retreat Day. Click the [Download] button to get the handout.

The first has one slide per page designed for looking at on-screen rather than printing out.

This second is a printer-friendly version with space for you to make notes on.

2 thoughts on “Retreat days for Advent

  1. Dear Julian, Sorry I cannot come to your Advent retreat this year. I’m afraid neither of the dates fit. I like reading your posts and enjoy reflecting on some of them, so thank you for sending me those.

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