\ by Keith Paulus
On Sunday, December 3, Christians throughout the world will enter into the church season traditionally known as Advent. Advent is the first season in the church calendar, followed by Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Ascension Day, Pentecost Day, and what is known as “Ordinary Time.”
The word Advent is formed from a Latin word meaning “coming” or “arrival” and is about the coming of Christ. Traditionally, it includes a way of joyfully remembering the first coming of Christ, as well as eagerly awaiting the second coming of Christ. As such, it’s a season for remembering and rejoicing, watching and waiting, praying and preparing.
Some people think of the church calendar and even Advent as a kind of legalistic and empty ritual. But when we come to it with ready and humble hearts, and when the Word of God remains central to our celebrations, the season of Advent can be a remarkable opportunity for discipleship because it helps us to really center our lives around the gospel of the Lord Jesus as we reflect on the gospel promises made about Him in the Old Testament and then as we see the fulfillment of those promises initiated in His birth. Sadly, as many of us annually experience, it’s all too easy to just jump into the celebration of Christmas Day without really understanding and feeling the weight of what it is we’re celebrating. In that way, the four-week season of Advent helps us to celebrate Christmas as we should.
At Christ Church NYC we want to encourage all of us to really be intentional about walking through this season and seeking to grow in our lives with Christ. Here are some of the opportunities we’ve put together at Christ Church to help you and your family members do that this year:
- Sunday services – throughout the Advent season we will be lighting the Advent candles every week as we sing a traditional Advent hymn. Pay attention to other subtle changes in the liturgy that also help us to mark the Advent season.
- We have put together a booklet of Advent devotionals that will take you through each of the four weeks of Advent. You can find hard copies at church or you can download it here.
- If you have children, try to think of creative ways you can help your children enter into the Advent story of waiting and watching for Christ. There’s an appendix at the back of the devotionals that provides you with some ideas to help get you thinking along those lines.
- Be sure to attend our special Lessons and Carols service on Sunday, December 10 at 10:00AM. The service will be filled with music from Handel’s Messiah, as well as Bible readings that take us through the whole story of the gospel. Parents, use this service with your children to help them see how Christ is the focus of all Scripture.
May the Lord give us much growth and joy in Him this Advent season.
Yours in Christ,