Advent is… The first season of the church year, beginning with the fourth Sunday before Christmas and continuing through the day before Christmas. The name is derived from a Latin word for “coming.” The season is a time of preparation and expectation for the coming celebration of our Lord’s nativity, and for the final coming of Christ “in power and glory.” https://www.episcopalchurch.org/calendar-church-year/
Advent was the last season to be officially added to the church calendar, in about 600 AD. It was made the first season of the church year because it begins the story of the events of Christ’s life, death and resurrection and anticipates God’s birth into our world.
Advent is… “Life is filled with times of waiting; often a time of waiting overlaps with other periods of expectancy. Though many people today do not want to have to wait for anything if it can be avoided, everyone has such experience of waiting. We learn that times of incubation are necessary for the truly significant to come to fruition. Amidst all the small waitings of mundane life experience are those most significant times of marked transitions, small or great transformations, goal fulfillments, culmination of processes and learnings. We continually experience incompleteness and await, hope, expect. We wait for some realization, fulfillment, salvation…In Advent, we await the greatest mystery to be realized.” Imaging the Word, An Arts and Lectionary Resource, Vol 1
Advent is… A time to change things up in order to measure the movement of our life in God anew. So our liturgical rhythms, colors, music, and rituals change as a way to tell the story of God and for us to participate in that living story. To make Advent a pilgrimage time to Bethlehem to see for ourselves the mystery of Immanuel - God with us.
Liturgical colors change from green of the season after Pentecost to purple or blue of Advent.
Advent Wreath Lighting and Hymn our service will begin with lighting the Advent candle(s) and sing a special hymn.
Slow Down! During the service, we will intentionally slow the rhythm down with extended silences following each reading, praying the psalm, after the homily.
Hear Anew! As a way to experience Advent more deeply, we’ll use a different Eucharistic prayer which comes from Enriching Our Worship. Prayer 2 is perfect for Advent/Christmas which ties beautifully into the lectionary readings we’ll hear each Sunday.
Looking for Resources to Deepen Your Advent Journey?
If you are looking for ideas for yourself, family, Sunday School - including advent wreaths, calendars, daily prayers/meditations, The Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire has compiled an exceptional list with links. https://www.nhepiscopal.org/advent-resources Advent Wreath: The basic premise of an Advent wreath is to mark the four Sundays of Advent in an intentional way. The first Sunday you light one candle, the second Sunday two candles, the third Sunday three candles, the Fourth Sunday four candles. If you’d like to mark Christmas Eve, you light a candle in the center as the light of the coming Christ child. Check out these websites for some creative ideas. Use whatever you have on hand! https://www.smilemercantile.com/blogs/tutorials/92604935-diy-advent-wreath-with-painted-rocks https://mariebostwick.com/diy-advent-wreath/ http://www.freefunchristmas.com/handmade-christmas-gifts/paper-plate-advent-wreath-2/