An Altered Advent

By Jan Richardson

Best Day Ever

My dear friends. For those who don’t already know, I need to tell you that my beloved husband, Garrison Doles, 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 to have lost not only my husband but my amazing partner and companion in ministry. I am also tremendously grateful for all the prayers that encompassed us as we kept vigil with Gary and that are continuing to sustain us in these days.

Over at The Painted Prayerbook, I recently posted a reflection that includes a brief remembrance and blessing that I wrote for the celebration of Gary’s life, which we held last Friday afternoon. You can find it here:

Beloved: A Blessing for Garrison Doles

Last year, Gary released a gorgeous CD of his original Christmas songs. It’s titled Songmaker’s Christmas and is such a beautiful companion for this season. You can download songs or the entire CD by clicking this image or title below:

Songmaker's Christmas

Songmaker’s Christmas

You can imagine this is not the Advent season we had planned. With keeping vigil with Gary in the hospital, navigating these days following his death, and also journeying through the online Illuminated Advent Retreat that Gary and I had planned to offer together, I’m not able to be present here at The Advent Door in the way I had hoped. But we’ve traveled through two complete cycles of the lectionary here, so you can find lots of already existing work! I have a number of reflections and images that I’ve created previously for the scripture readings that we’re visiting during this season. For the third Sunday of of Advent, you can find some of them by clicking the images or titles below.

I send you much gratitude and many blessings. May you know the presence of Christ our Light throughout these days.

When the Prison Bars Bled Light

Advent 3: When the Prison Bars Bled Light

The News in Prison

Door 16: The News in Prison

Another Name for Patience

Door 15: Another Name for Patience


Door 11: In Which We Get to Sing

To Zion with Singing

Door 10: Hitting the Highway

7 Responses to “An Altered Advent”

  1. Linda Says:

    My heart is sad. My blessings for you, Jan, are many.

  2. Rosalie Nelson Says:

    Jan–thanks so much for sending the information about Gary’s move to heaven!
    As a widow of several years, I can imagine some of the feelings you are having,
    May God bring just the right people into your life as you travel this journey.

    Many blessings and prayers,
    a blog reader, Rosalie

  3. Kitty Madden Says:

    Yes, Jan, we are grateful that you feel all 0f us there at your side as you and all of Gary’s loved ones continue to feel the rhythm of his wonderful music that continues the “beat of his heart” in our lives.

    Am so sorry, Jan, for the ways in which your heart has been pierced by the great pain of losing Gary’s physical presence there at your side. Am remembering how “Mary pondered and kept all of these things in her heart.”
    Also trusting that you feel him there with you….dia y noche, Kitty

  4. Marilyn Paull Says:

    Dear Jan,
    Having finished “Sanctuary” last month after usung it as a daily meditaion for the past 6 months, I felt like I had just really met you as a couple in the last chapter. I can only imagine the depth of your loss even as you know he is with you all the time, just in a different form. I pray that your transition back to the single life and your journey onward is filled with Spirit’s comfort and a wellspring of compassion toward you. Thank you for your incredible impact on my life through your art and your writing.

  5. Carol Brown Says:

    Jan, your book “night visions” was a solace for me in 1999 when my husband died during Advent. I pray that you will find the comfort and solace you need.

  6. Bruce Case Says:

    Jan, I have no words– only an aching, heavy heart. I’ve never met you or Gary personally. But I have greatly benefitted from your gifts. I pray (and suspect) that you have the gift of “deep church”– soul mates and pilgrims who are holding you in community at this moment. Peace and comfort to you.

  7. Elizabeth Steeves Says:

    Your work has been a source of strength and comfort to me and parishioners I’ve walked alongside for several years, now. Please know that you are in my prayers as you make this Advent journey, and beyond.

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