Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Shannon: A Simple Advent

Renee just wrote and asked about the hand-out we made available a few Christmases ago on the topic of Advent. I did a little browsing and found that I still had the original form in my files. So in case anyone else is interested in celebrating advent this year, here you go:

A Simple Advent Celebration
Calvary Chapel Marysville

Many good books exist on the hows and whys of a formal Advent celebration. We found that approach too complicated for our family. Here are the basic elements of a simple Advent, one you can begin immediately:

1) Choose a night. Traditionally, Advent begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas, but we’ve chosen different nights over the years.

2) Collect a simple wreath, five candlesticks, five candles (one of which is a different color). Traditionally, pink and purple are used. We often use white and red.

3) Choose a passage of scripture and a Christmas carol or two for each night of Advent. Here are some passages and corresponding songs to get you started:
      4th week: Isaiah 9:6-7, “O Come, All Ye Faithful”
      3rd week: Luke 2:1-7, “O Little Town of Bethlehem"
      2nd week: Luke 2:8-14, “Hark The Herald Angels Sing”
      1st week: Luke 2:15-20, “While Shepherds Watched”
      Christmas Eve: Galatians 4:4-7, “Joy to the World”

Here’s what you do:
      1. Dim the lights
      2. Light the first candle (each week, you will light one more candle: the fourth week before Christmas, light one; the third week before Christmas, light that one and one additional, etc.)
      3. Pray
      4. Read the passage of scripture you’ve chosen for that week
      5. Ask questions relating to the passage. Prepare your own, or choose from the following:
            How much darkness does it take to overcome light?
            How much light does it take to overcome darkness?
            What Christmas tradition means the most to you? Why?
            What can we do to make sure the true meaning of Christmas isn’t lost?
            What gives you hope?
            How did the birth of Jesus change the course of history?
            How did the birth of Jesus change your life?
            Is Jesus the authority of your life?
            Are you anxious for His return?
            What can you do to make the most of your time while you wait for Him?

      6. Sing one or two Christmas carols. Be spontaneous; let your children choose songs.
      7. Pray, asking God to keep your mind focused on Him during the coming week.

* * *

If you've never celebrated Advent together as a family, I urge you to try this year. It's always the most restful, reflective part of Christmas for us.


Sylvia said...

It sounds absolutely wonderful!

suzzanne said...

Thank you, Shannon. That sounds like a great tradition to start for our "new" family.

Kari said...

Shannon, Thanks for posting this again. I had it in my head about a week ago to start preparing for Advent (I need some new candles) but it slipped my mind. We've done this off and on through the years but definitely want to put it ON the list this year. Thanks for the reminder.