Last Sunday we started the liturgical season of Advent. One of the devotionals we are offering this year is called, The Dawn Chorus. Look at these selections from the introduction:


Each year in the Northern Hemisphere, as the days get shorter and the nights get longer and colder, the season of Advent arrives. In the four weeks leading up to Christmas, we pray and light candles and tell the truth about a world full of shadows. We confront the realities of conflict and injustice – and we take responsibility. And then we raise up our voices and sing straight into those shadows, calling on Jesus to come again with light and peace and healing in his wings.

Songbirds all over the world know a thing or two about singing in the dark. In the wee hours of the morning, they begin a great symphony that scientists call the “dawn chorus.” Birds can sing at any time of day, of course, but in the deep blue space between darkness and light, their songs are louder, livelier, and passionately clear.

Advent is the church’s dawn chorus.


Birds might just be the ultimate intergenerational connection. When a group of us, from toddler to ninety, gathered on Zoom on Sunday evening for first Advent, we used this devotional to look at the cardinal as hope for Advent.


We learned fun bird facts:

  • Cardinals are nonmigratory and never travel further than 1-2 miles from where they were born.
  • Cardinals are territorial all of the year except winter, when they work together as a flock looking for scarce food.
  • A flock of cardinals is called a college, a radiance or a Vatican of cardinals.


We talked about what is bringing us hope these days:

  • The Crew
  • Gymnastics
  • My family and friends
  • Children
  • Music


We shared our favorite birds:

  • Flamingos
  • The small hummingbird
  • The osprey because of their feather patterns
  • The cardinal
  • Woodpecker, I like their sound


So this Advent, look for the birds and what they may teach us about hope, peace, joy, and love. As the prophet Isaiah put it, those who “wait on God” find renewed strength for the journey, rising “with wings like eagles” as we go (Isaiah 40:31).


What is your favorite bird and why? What is bringing you hope these days?


-Written by Brittany Porch

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  1. Rosemary Tolliver December 6, 2023 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    I can’t pick just one favorite bird, and music always gives me hope.
    Here’s another take on “Singing in the Dark” from Carrie Newcomer…. Enjoy! [Link deleted]

  2. Louanne Zipfel December 7, 2023 at 9:15 am - Reply

    Never thought of bird songs as hopeful- but you’re right – they are and I like thinking of them like that. My favorite is the sound of the Loon if I’m lucky enough to hear it early in the morning, thank you

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