Just wanted to mention a few ideas for observing Advent as individuals, families, and churches. Take the time to intentionally wait this season. Go against the way the culture wants you to celebrate Christmas. We were teaching our daughter what hope is and that our greatest hope is for the King to come. She said, "King Triton!?" We were convicted that, to a degree, Disney has been her defining narrative. What's yours?
  • Jesse Tree: Let God's story from Creation to the coming of Christ be the narrative that defines you this season. You'll read short passages of the story every day to be reminded of the story you are a part of. Then you'll add one ornament that represents that particular part of the story to your tree every day. Here are instructions to one way of doing this: https://www.rca.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=1628
  • Advent Wreath: 1st Week Hope, 2nd Week Peace, 3rd Week Joy, 4th Week Love. Light a candle and talk as a family (perhaps around the dinner table) about the hopes you have the first week, where in your life you’re experiencing (or not) peace the second week, and so on.
  • Decorate in phases instead of all at once: outside lights one day, inside decorations one week, Christmas tree with lights the next week, add ornaments the next week, etc. This builds anticipation and is a good practice of patience and waiting.
  • Homemade Gifts: This takes time, but the anticipation of giving a homemade gift is a millions times greater than a bought gift, especially because most people told you what to buy them in the first place.
  • Ten Minute Advent Retreats: A great way to intentionally devote to the Lord as individuals or families. We did this as a small group this morning. Subscribe to it here: http://www.tenminuteadventretreats.com/
  • Church Year Website of Resources: Here is a wonderful website to peruse if you are interested in understanding more about Advent and the Church Year: http://crivoice.org/chyear_resources.html
Here are a couple previous posts with more ideas:
Lastly, we're going through Luke's narrative account of the coming of Christ this Advent. We are showing clips from The Nativity Story to coincide with each Sunday's text. We thought it was fitting for a few prominent symbols of our Advent worship to be a nativity, wreaths, trees, lights, and of course an Advent wreath. We had a great team of artists who put this all together, conscious of the colors of the season (royal purples and blues). We actually just painted the back wall a light gray color. It was burgundy. We also de-centered the band in favor of making room for seasonal symbols. Yea! No longer am I front and center, nor is a huge spaceship drum rig the main focal point of our space. The band will remain off to the side indefinitely. I'd eventually like to lower the band from their elevated position, too. I'd also like to remove the giant screen that screams "WATCH!" from its place of primacy in our space, and maybe replace it with stained glass. Really excited about the modifications to our space, and hope it aesthetically leads our church into greater worship participation. I have posted some photos of our worship space below.


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