Tag Archives: christmas

advent reflection & resources

Adventcom

Advent is here!!  I cannot express just how much I love this season; not because of the consumeristic Christmas that America celebrates, but because it’s the beginning of a new church year, and it’s the anticipation of the Savior’s birth. It’s my delight to share some Advent resources to assist you as you meditate upon this season.

(If you didn’t read my thoughts on using disciplines of season, go here.  For a introductory explanation of the church calendar, and an insight as to why I love following the liturgical calendar, Glenn Packiam has some thoughts here.)

Note: this list is rather ecumenical, but that’s not a bad thing!  I encourage you to see what other resources you can use beside your usual stand-bys.  You might be surprised at the treasures you find.

Let me share with you a couple of links directly related to Advent that I wish I could’ve written, myself.  Glenn Packiam has written here about taking the time and space to make Advent about more than just Christmas, and has some Advent resources here to assist you in reflecting upon this season.

Word of Life Church has constructed an Advent reading guide, which you can find here.

John Piper is giving away a free eBook called Good News of Great Joy here.

Ann Voskamp is giving away a Jesse Tree Advent Devotional here.

For more of a somber perspective of Christmas, see Dr. Varner’s post here, giving an overview of A Not So Silent Night.  Dr. V will be sharing about Christmas devotionals throughout the season, so make you sure you re-visit his blog.

Christine Sine has a wonderful list of Advent resources on her blog, and created a Facebook event page for Advent resources that she updates weekly: Join Us for Advent. 

The Jesuit Post has a short, but rich and eclectic list of Advent resources on their blog.

My friend G. recommends these devotional/prayer books for the Advent season: Watch for the Light, Preparing for Christmas (Rohr), Christmastide (Tickle), and Be Vigilant: Daily Meditations for Advent (Duburiel; only 99 cents on Kindle right now!)

What other Advent resources have you found helpful?  How do you make the most of the Advent season?  Please share in the comments section!  I will continue to expand this post to include a collection of Advent resources (or even helpful anecdotes) as you share them.

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the discipline of seasons

Seasons

I think part of me is just rebelling against the multi-tasking, fast paced, materialistic Western culture. We focus on quantity rather than quality. Maybe another part of me is just annoyed at premature pictures of Christmas trees. Maybe my natural inclination towards liturgy is offended by the former. Regardless, it has me thinking…

The conflation of the seasons troubles me (and here I am referring mostly to seasons on the liturgical calendar, followed loosely by most in my circles). And no, it’s not that I’m just a humbug (though sometimes I can be). There’s a certain sacredness to every season that is meant to be savored alone: Lent, Easter, Thanksgiving, Advent, etc. To dive into the Christmas season before Advent seems sacrilegious, because Advent has been specifically set aside to dwell on the coming of Christ in human flesh. It is full of anticipation, beauty, hope, and awe. We sense a longing for the Messiah, at the same time knowing he came to earth as a human infant, and rejoicing in the peace that he brings to earth with the advent of salvation.

I’m not trying to imply that we should never look forward to Jesus’ coming outside of the Advent season, or to only acknowledge Jesus’ resurrection on Easter, but some things tend to lose their significance as we multi-task and multi-observe. It takes discipline to focus only on one thing, and to keep focus on it. There is a sense of wonder, awe, and gratitude that is restored as we reflect on one season, and realize, through focusing singularly on that one season, what we might have missed all the other times we just skimmed over it, or tried to do too many things at once. It’s time for many of us to slow down, and reflect.

p.s. I have nothing against multi-tasking, personally; I just fail to see its usefulness in every area of life. If you thrive on multi-tasking, kudos to you, but I sure hope you find time to slow down a little, and ruminate. It just might make a difference.

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