ADVENT 2017

"Less is more.

In giving, we receive.

The last will be the first.

Silence can speak volumes.

You have to let go to hold on.

Love isn't love until it's given away.

The consumer is inevitably consumed.

We can find our strength in our weakness.

In embracing our sorrow, we can find our joy."


Advent means coming or arrival; especially the coming of that which is eagerly awaited. For the Christian church, the Advent (which is the four weeks leading up to Christmas) is a season of worshipful expectation and anticipation. Traditionally, Advent is divided up into four reflections (Hope, Peace, Joy, Love) which culminate in the Christ reflection on Christmas Eve. (As a church, we celebrate and observe these reflections through the Advent Wreath each year.) We invite you to use this reading plan to prepare your heart and seek the Messiah in the Scriptures this Advent season.



HOW TO USE THIS READING PLAN:

This plan provides you with 4 daily practices to help you prepare for the coming of Jesus. Each week, the daily practices will remain the same, but the specific invitations related to each practice will change. During a season that may seem busy, chaotic, and disruptive, a little repetition can help ground our souls. 


Use this reading plan in whatever way is most natural for you and your household. Pick and choose the practices you find helpful, and feel free to engage in the practices alone or with others, early in the morning or late at night, in the car, or while sharing a meal, adapting them as necessary. The reading plan is composed in such a way that you can participate in all 4 daily practices at one time, or you can spread them out throughout the day. 


Here’s an overview of each practice: 

[Read] 

Each day you’ll be invited to read 1 chapter from Luke’s Gospel. By immersing yourself in Luke’s version of the “Good News” you’ll be reminded of what you’re preparing for. 


[Confess] 

Each day of the week, you’re invited to pray the same prayer of confession on behalf of a different subject. The prayer of confession will then rotate each week, giving you the opportunity to pray 4 prayers in 7 different ways throughout Advent. 


[Stop] 

Each day you’ll be invited to participate in a practice that’s meant to disrupt your daily experience of “time” and remind you of God’s presence and provision in your life. We have to be willing to “stop” if we desire to “begin” experiencing time and God’s presence in new ways. 


[Yearn] 

Each day you’re invited to light the corresponding Advent candle for the week and repeat a given phrase that expresses our shared longing for the coming of Jesus. Let your candle burn each day as a symbol of all that is awaiting fulfillment in your life and in our world. 


Here are all of the plans in one spot, or open them below as needed.


WEEK ONE: HOPE

We can have hope because God is faithful and will keep the promises made to us. This candle reminds us that our hope comes from God. "And again, Isaiah says, 'The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.' May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:12-13) 


WEEK ONE: "HOPE" READING PLAN

God kept his promise of a Savior who would be born in Bethlehem and bring peace and well-being to the world.  This candle, as well as Zachariah's song in Luke chapter 1, reminds of us this: "And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace." 


WEEK TWO: "PEACE" READING PLAN

WEEK TWO: PEACE

WEEK THREE: JOY

This candle, the only pink one, points to the joy given in the GOSPEL. The angels sang a message of JOY! "...and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.' Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.' When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." (Luke 2:7-15) 


WEEK THREE: "JOY" READING PLAN

The angels announced the good news of a Savior.  God sent his only Son to earth to save us, because he loves us! This candle reminds us of this life-altering truth - "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:16-17)  


WEEK FOUR: "LOVE" READING PLAN

WEEK FOUR: LOVE

CHRISTMAS

The white candle, the last candle, lit on Christmas Eve, reminds us that Jesus is the spotless lamb of God, sent to wash away our sins! His birth was for his death, his death was for our birth! "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'" (John 1:29)


"CHRISTMAS" READING PLAN