Advent has always been, after Lent, my favorite season in the Christian calendar. As a Christian educator in the local church, I loved teaching about Advent and observing spiritual formation in the lives of people as they journeyed through this counter-cultural Season of preparation. Often a church member would remark about how much more meaningful their Christmas was as a result of observing Advent.
As the first Sunday of Advent quickly approaches (November 29), I wonder what your church is doing to pay attention to Advent this year?How will your church emphasize Advent in its worship, fellowship, and discipleship opportunities? What resources does your church use to help members “prepare a way” for the Christ-child? What time-tested resources can you recommend for corporate and individual formation?
I’ve listed a few recommendations below which I hope you find helpful:
- God’s Most Generous Gift: An Advent Devotional Calendar is a new resource available from CBF for families. One side of this table-top flip calendar has reflections for adults and the other for children. The resource offers families instruction in building and using an Advent wreath and offers insights into the various Global Mission field ministries of CBF. You can order or preview this resource by visiting, www.thefellowship.info/advent. You might consider offering these reflection calendars to the families of your church as an Advent ministry.
- www.textweek.com/advent.htm – Textweek.com is the premier online worship preparation site (especially if your church follows the Christian calendar). This particular page is for Advent resources.
- www.followingthestar.org/ – Followingthestar.org is an online Advent devotional experience created by Passport (youth and children’s camping options) in partnership with CBF, PC USA, and the Episcopal Church. It is done really well. I highly recommend that you share it with your church members. Note: this devotional begins with Advent (November 29). Until then, you will be directed to the d365 website, a Passport/CBF partnership which provides an online daily devotional.
- www.baptiststandard.com/2000/12_4/pages/cyber.html – Not sure about this whole Advent thing? Well, here’s a great article on how other CBF partnering congregations are observing the Season.
- Preparing for Advent – Finally, I’ve made available a PowerPoint presentation from my previous local church ministry. Feel free to modify it to suit your purposes. You might use it as a primer on Advent for church members on a Wednesday or Sunday prior to the Season.
- Advent Wreath Liturgy – A gift from Courtney Krueger from FBC Pendleton, SC. Thanks, Courtney.
- These and other resources are available at www.thefellowship.info/advent.
What resources or recommendations do you have to share?
This PDF curriculum from Baptist Center for Ethics explores Advent from a biblical basis with a practical application. It is written by Jim Evans, whose columns appear regularly at EthicsDailycom.
Hoping Against Hope
Peace and Peacemaking
Joy to the World
Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow
A leader’s guide is also available.