Advent 2018 – A Way of Life: Both at Home and with God’s Church.

We begin the new year with the season of Advent in only a few days! Advent is a fasting season believe it or not, and is a time of examination, preparation and expectation. The church has an ancient tool used to help disciple believers, called the church calendar. Just like our normal calendar we use, that has 12 months in a year, the church has used a calendar for nearly 1500 years that focuses our minds and hearts on Jesus. Each season in our church calendar is usually either a fasting season, like Advent or Lent, or a feasting season like Christmas or Easter. Think of it like a wonderful potluck or buffet dinner. If you were preparing for a huge dinner, you would probably eat a very light meal for lunch. In the same way, as we prepare for the feasting season of Christmas (12 days starting on December 25th), we trim up our meals and prepare for a time of feasting! We remember some of the ancient promises of the coming of the Messiah, as well as, prepare for the second coming of our Lord as King and Judge.

Liturgy is a school of training, which is meant to empower us for daily life and not just Sunday. In that way, our liturgical rhythms are meant to break down the barrier between the church and our homes. For example, when we pass the peace on Sundays, this is a training for us to settle our debts, ask for forgiveness, and to seek reconciliation on a regular basis. This habit should extend from Sunday into our homes, the marketplace and our jobs. Another liturgical rhythm is when we listen to God’s Word on Sunday. After we hear a passage read, the reader says, “the Word of the Lord.” We then respond, “thanks be to God!” Have you ever said that after hearing a particularly challenging section of Scripture? Yes, I have too! Sometimes we don’t want to thank God for the challenging things that come our way, but our Liturgy reminds us that the whole counsel of God is good, because it is God’s Word. In the same way, we hope that when life is challenging and we go through seasons of suffering, we have been trained to say “thanks be to God,” even when it isn’t easy to say, knowing our God is always good.

In Advent, the church has typically used an Advent wreath as well. This is a week by week training tool to remember some particular themes that run through this season. We light a different colored candle to remember Joy, love and kindness and peace. Each part of this wreath symbolizes something special for our season of Advent and is outlined in our Advent prayer booklet. We encourage you to find a way to make an advent wreath and to place it on your dinner table at home. This will help you bring the season of Advent into the primary place of discipleship, the home. Our family and many others in the church will light the proper candle each week at dinner time while singing one verse of “O Come O Come Emmanuel.” This is a really powerful tool to begin entering into the liturgical life of the Church and allowing it to penetrate our homes.

Another way we can embrace our weekly rhythms, is to use our family prayer liturgies. These liturgies are tools used to help disciple our children as well as orient our hearts and minds to Christ. They are extremely accessible and can be incorporated in the morning together, afternoon, or even before or after a meal. We will have these liturgies available as well, with our Advent prayer booklets. Instructions to find these liturgies online are provided below as well. Advent tends to become a time where daily and weekly rhythms can genuinely bring us closer to the Lord, and our hope is that you see the value of a daily way of orienting your heart to the Lord. When we begin to embrace a more holistic Christian experience, the capacity for life change and formation really increases exponentially.

 

Instructions for family Prayer Liturgy:

 

Go to: Anglicanchurch.net

  • Click on Resources
  • Click on Liturgies
  • Click the link for family prayer (Under office)

 

Instructions for Daily Office Readings: (If you want to join after Advent on a daily reading schedule)

 

Go to: Anglicanchurch.net

  • Click on Resources
  • Click on Liturgies
  • Click on Daily Office Lectionary (Under Calendars and Lectionaries at the bottom)