I know we are used to four weeks of Advent. We’re also used to those four weeks being filled with anticipation of our Christmas Eve Service. I get it, Christmas Eve at Grace is truly something, but there’s so much more to the church year than Christmas Eve. I started seeing Christmas decorations at Target at the begining of October. Now, the entire store is decked out for Christmas and it’s just going to get worse the closer we get to Christmas. Somewhere in between the rolls of wrapping paper, the tress, and the cookie plates, we’ve lost Advent. We’re in such a rush to make it Christmas that we forget to celebrate the New Year. In our haste to have the perfect tree and the perfect cookie swap, we forget that without what God has done through Christ, we wouldn’t have a season of Christmas to celeberate. This is not an argument for the “Keep Christ in Christmas” conspiracy, but rather a reminder that all time, be it secular or liturgical belongs to God and is a gift from God. I think that this year we need a seven week Advent. We need to slow down and reflect on what has already been done, what is, and what is to come. We’ll be using resources from The Advent Project to guide us over the next seven weeks. I know this might seem like Angie has hatched yet another strange thing for Grace, but I promise that it’s not all that strange. If you are willing come and join us this season!
“In its origin, the season of Advent was nearly seven weeks…The intent of the season is to look to the end, to the fulfillment of the implications of the Paschal Mystery set forth “for us and for our salvation” [Nicene Creed] in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In other words, the focus is on the Christian hope represented by the full manifestation of the Reign of God established in Christ. In this respect, then, Advent is about eschatology. One of the implications of this is the need to recover the understanding that this is the primary focus of Advent. It is a season not so much a preparation for the incarnation, the celebration of Christmas, but a season that sets the context for the entire liturgical year and keeps it, properly observed, from being merely a repetitive cycle. In other words, by this emphasis, Advent calls us to enter the cycle each year with deeper understandings, wider horizons, and higher expectations (The Advent Project Rational).”
If you stick with us for all seven weeks, I’ll tell you about the really cool thing the O Antiphons do.
pax et bonum,
Angie Smith (Assistant Program Director)
Click here to download a short liturgy for home use.