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Advent is the beginning of the Christian year.

The beginning of our spiritual journey.

In essence, it is the Christian’s New Year.  A time to start over.  Make spiritual resolutions.  Seek the Messiah once more.

Did you know that Advent and Christmas are different?  Advent means “coming” and is about preparing for the Messiah’s coming:  in our hearts, his physical birth and his 2nd coming.  That’s why so much of Advent is spiritual preparation.  A time for renewal.  A time for longing.  Not yet the celebration of his actual birth (which is Christmas), but the preparation for it.

This is the time to give up those hard-to-break habits and hang-ups that keep us from fully worshipping, fully savoring the Savior.  We can finally long for that which the world cannot satisfy.  As Robert Weber writes,

Advent is the time when God breaks in on us with new surprises and touches us with a renewing and restoring power.

God breaking in on us with hope, peace, joy and his unending love.

Except for Christmas and Easter, I never grew up following the church calendar. Even though I always celebrated Christmas, celebrating Advent was a new thing.   I didn’t even know Advent was considered a separate season from Christmas.  As I’ve learned about the church calendar, my desire was to draw our family closer to Him–the True Gift this season.

This first week of Advent is all about HOPE!  I will be writing about Hope in Hard Times later this week.  We will be celebrating hope all week long at our house.

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Advent Resources

If you haven’t had the chance to celebrate our HOPE in Jesus, feel free to use our Family Advent devotional for this week that I posted on Saturday.

Book of Common Prayer online.

IPhone app to follow the Christian calendar with a Lectionary reader for daily Bible readings.

We have been doing the Jesse tree for years now and I highly recommend it as a family activity for Advent.  The Jesse Tree is a Bible reading program that takes you from Genesis to the birth of Jesus, highlighting Jesus’ family lineage and the great stories of the Bible.  I’m so excited about this  Christian Seasons Calendar to help us learn about the Church Calendar.  A beautiful, art-filled wall calendar that begins with Advent (December 1st).

Much of my information on Advent is from Robert Weber’s book Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality through the Christian Year.  If you are up for a deep read, this is a good book that teaches about the Church calendar and was one of my husband’s required reads for his Master’s program in Worship.

DATES, COLORS, AND THEMES:

  • The Four Sundays:
    • December 1
    • December 8
    • December 15
    • December 22
  • Colors and Themes:
    • Week 1– purple, HOPE
    • Week 2– purple, PEACE
    • Week 3– JOY
    • Week 4– purple, LOVE

Other Blogs following Advent:

Glenn Packiam’s blog gave me a number of resources on Advent.  Hugely helpful if you are just beginning on this journey.

Art of Simple’s blog on Advent resources.  Some good family resource recommendations for kids.

Finally, Sam put together an Advent playlist on Spotify.  You’ll notice that the songs are mainly Advent songs, not Christmas ones.  We will still listen to our Christmas music this season, but this mix enhances our traditional music with songs focusing on his coming.

This week we’ll be longing for his coming.

Focusing on his hope.

Waiting for God to break in on us with new surprises.

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Sara

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