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Editor’s Note: This year (2016), Advent starts on Sunday, November 27!
Advent is the Winter Lent. It’s a time of preparation for the coming (advent) of Christ which we will celebrate at the feast of Christmas (all 12 days, if you’re up for it!). In Advent, we enter into the longing of all of history for the first coming of Christ to redeem the world, and actively anticipate with expectation Christ’s coming again. It’s a wonderful time to get focused again on what we are all about: kindling imagination for kingdom anticipation.
So Advent is a great time to fast, perform acts of righteousness (not to gain favor, but to express love), to pray, to gather our families to connect to the deepest truth, beauty, and goodness of all.
If your family is like ours, you haven’t grown up practicing Advent. So, we needed some help. A good place to start is just using the Advent wreath as a kind of clock. You light one candle each night, starting on the first Sunday with just one, and then adding one each consecutive Sunday. So, the last week you’ll have four lit candles and you can light the big white one in the middle on Christmas Day! The idea is growing light. The candles don’t have to have names. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
On top of the wreath, you may choose to pray in the candlelight, to read a passage of Scripture and/or from The Jesus Storybook Bible or another book. You may choose to sing a song, the same song, every night. You may choose to learn a passage together. (One year we memorized the marvelous one at the end of this post.) It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Daddy praying, the candle flickering, and the Word of God read aloud makes for a pretty potent evening of kingdom anticipation and longing.
Here are some additional resources you may find helpful. Again, you can do this very simply. No pressure! Start off small.
Behold the Lamb of God (Advent book) by Russ Ramsey
Behold the Lamb of God (music) by Andrew Peterson & Friends
and for Christmas…
Slugs & Bugs Christmas from Randall Goodgame
No matter what you decide, please remember that we are taking a short break here at Story Warren, but we plan to be back soon. We want you to know that you should feel no pressure to read on our site daily, though we welcome everyone to come and enjoy what serves them. Mostly, we want you to know that we’re your allies in imagination…we’re on your side.
And don’t lose heart. There are far better things coming than we can adequately imagine.
It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the LORD
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and it shall be lifted up above the hills;
and peoples shall flow to it,
and many nations shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between many peoples,
and shall decide for strong nations far away;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore;
but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree,
and no one shall make them afraid,
for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.
For all the peoples walk
each in the name of its god,
but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God
forever and ever.
(Micah 4:1-5 ESV)