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Keeping Advent

The Episcopal Church of the Cross

2018

“Waiting is a period of learning. The longer we wait, the more we hear about him for whom we are

waiting.”

-Henri Nouwen

 

Welcome to Advent!

There are many themes to this time in the Church’s life: Expectation; Hope; Preparation; Joy;

Simplicity; Returning; and Waiting.

In the midst of all the excitement of this time of year, Advent invites us to pause; and hope; and

make and give space for the Lord to again enter our lives.

It is a gestational time. John the Baptist, for whom Elizabeth and Zechariah had waited, waits

and looks for the Kingdom of God; Mary waits and looks for her baby to be born; the people of God wait

and look for the fullness of God’s promises to be revealed; we wait and look to how again, Christ enters

our lives anew.

So we hope and anticipate and prepare and celebrate. In Advent we start anew, and on purpose

open ourselves to what Christ wants to reveal to us, and teach us, and give at Christmas, one more time.

 

***

“Advent is patience. It’s how God has made us a people of promise in a world of impatience.”

-Stanley Hauerwas

***

As a spiritual practice, Advent is lived out not just in worship, but in our homes and daily lives.

So as we enjoy all the beauty and joy of this time of year, here are a few suggestion of ways to live an

Advent life this season:

• Consider the traditional practices of Advent: An Advent Wreath and Advent Calendar. Included

in this booklet you’ll find prayers for the lighting of the Advent candles, and readings for each

day of Advent. In an Advent Calendar, the daily opening of a door reminds us of waiting and

expectancy, and tells the story of the coming of the Christ child.

• Look for moments of stillness; maybe just a few minutes at the most convenient time of the

day. Whatever works for you. Be quiet; offer a favorite word of prayer; read the scripture

passage for the day; pray your prayer beads or sit with your pocket cross; be quiet with the Lord,

and let the grace of God wash over you. Remember that Jesus’ arrival is God’s doing, not ours.

Give yourself some stillness and quiet, and receive the gift.

• Choose an act of serving and connecting.

o Come out on the Mobile Loaves and Fishes Truck (12/4 and 12/18).

o Help the youth decorate homes with Partners in Hope (12/8).

o Bring offerings of blankets, diapers, and new adult underwear and socks to worship that

we’ll pass on to Florence’s Comfort House.

o Give generously on our upcoming Giving Sunday (12/9). Our full offering that day goes

to Partners in Hope, Florence’s Comfort House, and Orphan Outreach.

o Buy a pie! Buy more than one pie! Proceeds from our pie sale also go to Partners in

Hope, Florence’s Comfort House, and Orphan Outreach.

• Consider giving gifts that give back. Visit www.ecclt.org for a listing of groups whose products

are a grace not only to those who receive them as gifts, but those who create them, as well.

• Consider giving any little ones in your household a share check this Christmas. A share check is

a check in which the amount is made out by you. Then, invite your children to decide on a

group doing good and godly work they’d like to give it to. Maybe invite your child to include a

note with the check. Is your child interested in animals? Research together groups that help

animals. Is your child interested in sports? Research together groups that use sports to build a

better world. Is your child interested in art? Research groups that use art for healing. The

options are endless, and it’s a great opportunity to teach generosity.

• Spend a few minutes on the Advent Conspiracy website (Adventconspiracy.org). Advent

Conspiracy is an ecumenical group devoted to helping Christians reclaim the season of Advent

through worshiping fully, spending less, giving more, and loving all.

Or follow your own practices, remembering and rejoicing that always Christ comes at Christmas.

Always, and again. “Ready or not,” as we said in the children’s game, Jesus comes; God arrives fully,

revealing that God has a human face. The Word becomes flesh, and sets up his tent in our

neighborhood.

God bless you, friends. We bid you a most holy season of Advent.

***

“Advent creates people…new people.”

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

***

Prayers for Lighting the Advent Candle

 

For the First Week in Advent:

Loving Lord, your light shines in the darkness. We light this single candle, a reminder to await you with

hope. Fill us up. Shine in us. Light our way. Prepare our hearts to receive you anew. Give us eyes to see

you in the faces of family and friends, strangers and neighbors. And then, we pray, give us every grace to

seek and follow your will, to the glory of your Name and the welfare of your people. Come, Lord Jesus.

Amen.

 

For the Second Week in Advent:

Holy God, we await expectantly. Fill us up. Shine in us. With grateful hearts we light these candles. Thank

you for always loving us. Increase in us faith, hope, and love; and give us the grace to live lives that bear

fruit, to your honor and the welfare of your people. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

 

For the Third Week in Advent:

Loving Lord, at all times, and in all places, we rejoice at your arrival. We light these candles to remind us

that you are the Light of the World, come to bring life and love to all. Fill us with your joy, and may we

know the depth of your Good News in our life this day, and always. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

 

For the Fourth Week in Advent:

Loving Lord, we wait. Fill us with your hope, and love, and joy. Bring us your peace. May these candles

remind us of how your love fills our hearts, and households, and neighborhoods. Thank you for every

grace and blessing. Come, Prince of Peace. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Scripture readings for each day in Advent are below

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“The Holy Scriptures are our letter from home.”

-St. Augustine

***

Below you’ll find scripture readings for each day in Advent. These readings take us through the

prophets, include words of expectation and hope from the New Testament letters, tell the story of John

the Baptist, and the arrival of Jesus. May these scriptures be a blessing to you during your time of

Advent preparation.

12/2 Zephaniah 3:14-20

12/3 Isaiah 40:28-31

12/4 Psalm 46

12/5 I Corinthians 1:3-9

12/6 I Thessalonians 3:9-13

12/7 Romans 15:4-13

12/8 Philippians 1:1-11

12/9 I Thessalonians 5:16-24

12/10 Philippians 4:4-9

12/11 Titus 2:11-14

12/12 Malachi 3:1-4

12/13 Isaiah 40:1-11

12/14 Luke 1:5-25

12/15 Luke 1:57-80

12/16 Mark 1:1-8

12/17 Luke 3:1-20

12/18 Micah 5:2-5a

12/19 Isaiah 11:1-10

12/20 Isaiah 7:10-14

12/21 Matthew 1:18-25

12/22 Luke 1:26-38

12/23 Luke 1:39-56

12/24 Luke 2:1-20

12/25 John 1:1-18

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