Preparing for Christmas
I have re-posted my article, What Is Advent? If you haven’t read it, check it out.
This is the time in the church calendar when people of faith prepare for Christmas. It starts four Sundays before December 25th, starting on November 30th this year.
This is a meaningful season for me, and has been since I started reading the church calendar lectionary for Advent a few years ago. It made Christmas so much more meaningful. However, I like to keep things fresh by trying new things, so I did a little looking and found some awesome resources for this year. You might do some looking around yourself, though here are some places to start:
FIND ADVENT READING PLAN: If you use a digital bible (like on a tablet), check to see what Advent devotionals are offered. These range from a daily bible verse to extended readings as well as devotional thoughts written by pastors and spiritual directors.
FIND ADVENT SMARTPHONE/TABLET APPS: I checked the Apple App store and found a few free apps I started using. There are even more app available if you’re willing to pay.
“Advent 2013” has a daily psalm everyday from November 30th to January 5th (the day before Epiphany). I couldn’t find and equivalent for 2014, but decided I could just use last year’s.
“Musical Advent Calendar” I found these for 2013 and 2014 that have different music. Click on the day and hear a sacred musical piece. These are perfect on a cold morning during your meditation or spiritual devotional time.
“Advent Devotions” is a little app that includes a scripture reading, reflection and prayer through December 25th.
The Android App store has several apps for Droid phones and tablets.
FOLLOW ADVENT WEBSITES:
Check out my friend Christine Sine’s Godspace. Chris and her community share all sorts of resources including articles, podcasts and books on spirituality and gardening. You might enjoy their non-traditional, activist-oriented approach to the season.
Advent Conspiracy likewise offers an alternative Advent experience. It challenge readers to worship fully, spend less, give more and love all.
READ BOOKS: Maybe you have some old Christmas books laying around, or maybe you’ll find something new by shopping around. There are devotionals, family activity books, and even books that explain the story behind popular Christmas Carols.
CREATE YOUR OWN RITUALS:
When I was a kid, our family took a ride in the mountains. Dad found a felled tree and cut off about a 20-inch section. He then brought it home and drilled 5 holes, making it into an Advent Log. It was similar to what was used in Sunday services when a candle was lit for each of the four Sundays of Advent with a special one on Christmas day. The log now sits in my house and I light a candle during my morning devotionals during Advent. It is special because it holds both memories—memories of church tradition and family—and a longing for the future—both this year’s Christmas and the future when God restores justice to the earth and makes all things rights.
Christmas is more than a single holiday. It is a season of holy days. Consider what you might do differently to restore true meaning of the season for you and your family.