Old Doxoblogy

Friday, December 01, 2006

Celebrating Advent

Now I just know I'm going to get the looks and comments I always get from Baptists when I talk about the season of Advent but I am going to do it anyway.

Advent (definition time now) is the first season in the Christian year consisting of the first four Sundays before Christmas with the season culminating upon Christmas day.  This means that December 3 will be the first Sunday in Advent for this year. 

Typically Advent is spent concentrating upon the coming of Christ both the future coming and His incarnation.  A series of reading is used typically consisting of a reading from the Old Testament, Psalms, one of the Epistles, and from one of the Gospels.  Each of these will speak of Christ's coming or His return.  For example this December 3's reading will be Jeremiah 33:14-16, Psalm 25:1-10 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13, and Luke 21:25-36.  All of these including the Psalm deal with the coming of Christ (Psalm 25:3 Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame). 

So why am I bringing this up?  Well because in the hustle and bustle of the time between the Friday after Thanksgiving and Christmas day our focus tends to get lost.  This came to my attention painfully one year when I looked up an saw that for my family we had lost the meaning of what Christmas was.  And I wondered what could I do to bring it back into focus.  So I went back to my roots.  I was examining Luther's smaller catechism when I noticed that in the back was a list of the Christian year and it started with Advent.  So I researched what was Advent and in reading it I came to the conclusion that here was the thing for family worship. 

So I talked to the wife (this is a very important step for you married folks) and explained what I was trying to do and she agreed and help me make an Advent wreath.  I found a book that was suitable for use during the readings (Christ in Christmas: A Family Advent Celebration) and then sprang the idea upon the children.  Now in this I had it easier as my children were at that time mostly adults and when I reasoned with them they responded positively this maybe a little harder with younger children or easier it depends upon the children. (its been a long time since I have had little children). 

And it worked.  The weeks before Christmas was spent reading and meditating upon Christ.  There were challenges to be sure, but we have stuck with this for a number of years.  And it always helps us focus upon what the meaning of Christmas and the season is to be about.

Consider adding Advent to your family worship time.


Jeremy Weaver said...

The Caner's and I have always suspected you to be a closet Presbyterian.

Seriously, that's a good suggestion for keeping the 'main thing' the 'main thing' around this time of year.

Anonymous said...

We did family Advent devotions for three years, but missed it last year. We're going to start again this Sunday.

Peter D. Nelson said...

Neil I'm glad to read that I if you need some resources for bible readings or something like that I can help you out.

Jeremy turn about is fair play right? :^{)

Thing is most of the Presbyterians (and some of the Reformed Baptists) I know get their feathers ruffled and talk about the regulative practice of worship. I just tell them its the Lutheran remnant in me.

C.T. Lillies said...

Wow Pete, I probably don't know more than three Baptists who can say "regulative" let alone explain it.

"...the word of God is not bound."
--2 Timothy 2:9

Pastor Mike said...

we have used the advent candle in worship services at Wyoming Baptist for 5 years. I use the time to talk about Christmas with the kids. It more of a free-form discussion surrounding the candles but I believe the children enjoy taking part. It not only highlights the reason for the season, it also allows for a more participative worship element.

Anonymous said...

Well, we did the first Sunday of Advent in a hotel room in Grand Rapids MI. We had to imagine the candles.

D.J. Cimino said...

According to Itunes, Mark Driscoll is abserving Advent...

"To begin the advent season, Pastor Mark describes twenty-five of the more than sixty prophecies pointing to the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ."

Thats from the description of Dec 3rd's sermon.

I think Driscoll reads the Doxoblogy...