The Basics of Advent and Christmas.
Sunday, November 29, marked the beginning of the Church Year and Liturgical Calendar for Roman and protestant Christians (Western Church) worldwide. For the Eastern Church, check out more about the Nativity Fast.
The season of Advent is the expectant hope for Jesus’ 2nd coming/return. Christians observe this season over the four weeks leading up to Christmas, the first arrival of the Christ.
What others have said about Advent:
ADVENT—the four-week period that leads up to Christmas—is a series of events designed not to delay the celebration of Christmas, but to enhance it. It’s a kind of delayed gratification that culminates in a … satisfaction that is all the richer for the waiting. Joan Chittister, Listen with the Heart
THE SEASON of Advent means there is something on the horizon the likes of which we have never seen before… .What is possible is to not see it, to miss it, to turn just as it brushes past you. And you begin to grasp what it was you missed, like Moses in the cleft of the rock, watching God’s [back] fade in the distance. So stay. Sit. Linger. Tarry. Ponder. Wait. Behold. Wonder. There will be time enough for running. For rushing. For worrying. For pushing. For now, stay. Wait. Something is on the horizon. Jan L. Richardson, Night Visions: Searching the Shadows of Advent and Christmas
IT WAS NOT suddenly and unannounced that Jesus came into the world. He came into a world that had been prepared for him. The whole Old Testament is the story of a special preparation … . Only when all was ready, only in the fullness of his time, did Jesus come. Phillips Brooks, The Consolations of God: Great Sermons of Phillips Brooks
ADVENT. Waiting for the end. The eschaton. The night is far spent. Madeleine L’Engle, The Irrational Season
GOD IS COMING! God is coming! All the element we swim in, this existence, Echoes ahead the advent. God is coming! Can’t you feel it? Walter Wangerin, Jr., from “The Signs of the Times,” in The Manger Is Empty
GOD our deliverer, whose approaching birth still shakes the foundations of our world, may we so wait for your coming with eagerness and hope that we embrace without terror the labor pangs of the new age… Janet Morley, All Desires Known
Consider observing Advent by learning more about the season and how to engage in Christian discipleship throughout its four weeks leading up to Christmas. Here’s a top 10 list of sorts to help you during the season of Advent.
- Worst Nativity Scenes. (It’s o.k. to have some fun.)
- Advent, Living Lutheran, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
- Advent by Dennis Bratcher
- Free Advent Devotional from Luther Seminary.
- Free Advent Devotional from Christianity Today.
- Go deep, download and read Advent Ethics and supporting Study Guides from The Center for Christian Ethics.
- A plethora of brief essays and reflections on Advent and Christmas at Christianity Today.
- During the 4 weeks of Advent try practicing Centering Prayer. Consider this practice as a way to open up to the power of God’s presence in your life. Rather than getting busier during this holy-days season, consider slowing down, practicing silence and serving simply.
- Advent Conspiracy is a movement of reclaiming the voice of Christ’s church to cut through the din of our culture’s drive to buy, shop and consume. Click on the “about” tab to view a teaching video on the emphases of AC: worship fully, spend less, give more and love all.
- Spiritual Formation resource suggestions for Advent/Christmas.
- Three Ways to Create Sacred Moments at Home this Advent.
- Lectio 365 Phone/Tablet App is an excellent means of connecting with God through word, reflection and prayer this Advent.
Holiday Detox. Just in case you want to be inspired toward a more honest take on this holiday season and possible alternatives to how one can observe it, check out these videos: