Some Ideas for the Observance of Advent
Time flies! As I write this article, we are almost at the end of the traditional Western church year. This means we are almost at the beginning of a new church year: or, in other words, from the first day of the season of Advent. (This year, 2023, the first day of Advent is Sunday, December 3rd.)
If you are interested in observing Advent, I suggest that before it begins you prayerfully consider and decide how you will observe it.
There are multitudes of resources we can use to observe this season, such as a collection of Advent devotions. Many are accessible online. Some are available for free. Some were prepared from the perspective of a particular church tradition, e.g. Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, Reformed, Methodist, and Baptist, and others were not.
The movement Advent Conspiracy is a source of such resources. I recommend it. Its website says:
Advent Conspiracy was founded on the radical idea that we can celebrate Christmas humbly, beautifully, and generously. Advent is the story of a wondrous moment when God entered our world to make things right. It is the greatest story ever told and it changes everything—including the way we celebrate Christmas.
If you would like to learn more about Advent Conspiracy and the resources it offers, I suggest you use this link: https://adventconspiracy.org/
Of course, one can also observe Advent in worthwhile ways without any of the Advent resources I have mentioned, such as by reading passages of the Scriptures—in both the Old Testament and the New Testament—which are related to Advent, and meditating on them.
Remember that traditionally Advent is not only about the the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ: that of His Incarnation and Nativity. It is also about His second coming: when "the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works" (Matthew 16:27 (AV/KJV)).
I heartily recommend the daily observance of Advent with one or more suitable spiritual disciplines.
Following is a list of seven such disciplines:
1. Reading passages of the Scriptures which pertain to the advents of the Lord
2. Praying psalms which pertain to the advents of the Lord (such as Psalms 24, 40, 96, and 98)
3. Memorizing one or more verses of the Scriptures which pertain to the advents of the Lord
4. Studying the advents of the Lord
5. Meditating on the advents of the Lord
6. Singing one or more songs (such as hymns) which pertain to the advents of the Lord
7. Thanking and praising the Lord for His advents, including what He did in His first advent and what He will do in His second
I have written about other ideas for the observance of Advent in my article "The Penitential Psalms, Advent, and Lent", which can be on this website here: https://reimaginenetwork.ning.com/forum/topics/the-penitential-psalms-advent-and-lent
And, of course, there is also the aforementioned discipline of using a collection of Advent devotions.
May God the Father bless the observance of Advent to the sanctification, edification, and preparation of His church for His only begotten and beloved Son, through the gracious ministrations of the Holy Spirit, to His glory. Amen.
Questions for consideration
1. Do you think you give enough attention to the advent of the Incarnation and Nativity of Christ? If so, why? If not, why not?
2. Do you think you give enough attention to the advent of the return of Christ? If so, why? If not, why not?
3. Would you like to observe Advent by practicing spiritual disciplines—especially ones which involve the advents of Christ? If so, why? If not, why not?
4. Would you like to learn more about the advents of Christ? If so, why? If not, why not?
5. What are some other spiritual disciples one could perform which involve the advents of Christ?
6. Would you like to thank and praise the Lord Jesus for the advent of His Incarnation and Nativity? If so, why? If not, why not?
7. Would you like to thank and praise the Lord Jesus for the advent of His return? If so, why? If not, why not?
Some Ideas for the Observance of Advent