The Celebration of Advent
Advent always comes at just the right time.
On the Gospel Coalition site, Brett McCracken offers several new resources to assist your family in observing this season of worshipful waiting (read the full article here). He writes:
“In the midst of hectic holiday schedules and at the end of another violent, troubled year, our hearts in December are often heavy; our bodies weary; and our souls ready for the justice and shalom that only Jesus, the Prince of Peace, can provide.
“And so we pause to remember the first coming of Christ. Immanuel, God with us. The weeks of Advent still our hearts and focus our attention on the miracle of the newborn King: Mild he lays his glory by / Born that man no more may die / Born to raise the sons of earth / Born to give them second birth.
“But we also long for the second advent of Christ. Just as we rejoice that “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:2), we also wait expectantly for that moment when “night will be no more” and there will be no need for “light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light” (Revelation 22:5). In a world where war and famine and injustice persists, where the wounds of Charlottesville and Vegas and Sutherland Springs are still fresh, we cry out again for God’s presence: Come and cheer / our spirits by thine advent here / Disperse the gloomy clouds of night / and death’s dark shadows put to flight.
“Beginning on Sunday, December 3, and lasting until Christmas Eve, Advent 2017 is another opportunity for us as individuals, families, and churches to rejoice and contemplate together the two advents of Christ—one already, and the other not yet.
“Advent invites us into both festive joy and worshipful waiting.”
What Is Advent?
Advent is a season of waiting, expecting, and hoping. Beginning four Sundays prior to Christmas and ending on Christmas Eve, Advent helps us prepare for the coming, or “advent,” of Christ at Christmas. The season of Advent is usually celebrated with the use of an Advent wreath. This wreath has four candles within it, one for each Sunday of Advent. Each Sunday a candle is lit to remind us of the light that Christ provides (The candle lighting is a highlight for your children and also helps them focus on counting down the days until the coming of Christ.). And in the center of the wreath is a larger candle to be lit either on Christmas Eve or Christmas day.
The word “advent” comes from the Latin word that means “coming.” In this season, we put ourselves back into the shoes (well, sandals) of the Jewish people who longed for the coming of Messiah. At the same time, we remember that we are also awaiting the second advent (coming) of Jesus, when his kingdom will fill the earth. Thus, Advent is a serious time of getting in touch with our hope and yearning. Yet, it is also a joyous time because we know that Christmas is coming and that the Savior was indeed born among us.
Advent Schedule 2017
We are encouraging you to read along with us in the book of Isaiah during Advent, and you might make this part of your reading time at home with your family (you can find the reading calendar on our website here).
The reading schedule below is the one we will follow for our gathering at Redeemer. The riches of Christ are so varied and so many that there are multitudes of ways to highlight our waiting and watching for his coming. But what is important is that you are training your heart and your family’s heart to wait and watch for our Lord’s coming.
- 1st Sun Advent December 3 theme: hope – Scripture reading Isaiah 9:2-6; Matthew 1:18-23
- 2nd Sun Advent December 10 theme: peace – Scripture reading Isaiah 11:1-10; Colossians 1:18-19
- 3rd Sun Advent December 17 theme: Joy – Scripture reading Isaiah 42:1-9; John 8:12
- 4th Sun Advent December 24 theme: love – Scripture reading Isaiah 61; Luke 4:18-19