Jesus is coming. That is what the celebration of Christmas is all about. Christmas is about celebrating that Jesus has come into the world to be with us, near us, one of us. Jesus is coming again. He will return to bring the fullness of the kingdom of God. Christmas is about Jesus being with us.
But, before Christmas, we have to wait. That is what Advent is all about. In Advent we wait for Jesus in remembrance and hope. This year our Advent theme is “Almost.” . All of our waiting and yearning in this season for God to be near us when we are experiencing loss, loneliness and isolation is wrapped up in God’s promise to never leave nor forsake us. So, this Advent we wait together, like our sisters and brothers from long ago, and we wait with confidence that not only has Christ come to be with us, but that he will come again and make all things new.
As you mark the season this year—something that seems more important now than ever—we wanted to offer some thoughts on ways you could mark this season.
Wallpaper for your phone
Maybe one way you could mark Advent this year is by a reminder on your phone when you open it? Here are two versions of our Advent theme “Almost”—minimal or with a reminder phrase—that you might enjoy through December.
This Advent, our worship will be guided by the ancient Christian prayers known as the O Antiphons. These prayers are set to music in the familiar Advent carol “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” To help us enter into these prayers more deeply, we are thrilled to partner with Bellwether Arts to bring our congregation a creative devotional. Email Pastor Noah to receive a digital copy (for copyright reasons) or with any questions. If you’re interested in a physical copy, Bellwether Arts has them available for $20 on their website along with a suggested accompanying playlist.
There are two suggested reading plans you can follow. Either way, the last day will be December 23.
Plan A: The week leading up to Christmas | Dec 17-23, #1-#7
Plan B: Wednesdays & Sundays | Dec 2,6 #1-2; Dec 9,13 #3-4; Dec 16,20 #5-6; Dec 23 #7
Children’s Coloring Pages
All kids from ages one to middle school should be receiving a purple envelope in the mail with some special coloring pages that link up to each week’s Scripture passages in Advent. If you don’t fall into this age bracket, but would like to color along, check out the first week’s page. (subscribe or watch our weekly Connections or newsletter for additional pages)
Make Your Own Advent Wreath
As we spend more time at home, there’s more reason than ever to make your own Advent wreath. Advent wreaths don’t need to be fancy! Pastor Kristen shows how you can make one with items from around your house. Watch the video or read about it in her Advent wreath at home blog post.
We Wonder Podcast
We Wonder Podcast is an audio contemplative storytelling resource for kids and adults alike. You might remember that we shared this last Advent, and it was so well-received, we’re encouraging all generations of AACRC to listen in again! The podcast invites children into an immersive, contemplative experience of the words of Scripture. Try beginning a new practice to listen to this around the breakfast table together every morning or during the wind-down space of each day as we step into this season of Advent.
Prepare for and join in worship during Advent & Christmas 2020
Blue Christmas Service: Thursday, Dec 10, 7pm, Virtual (Zoom)
Please join us as we gather for a virtual Blue Christmas service. This service is a space to hold silence, lament, and longing in the Advent season. Pastor Kristen will guide us in prayer as we together bring our prayers to the God who promises to never leave us or forsake us. A Zoom link will be sent out closer to the date.
Christmas Eve: Dec 24, 4pm, Live & Virtual (live-stream) — Luke 2:1-20
(recorded and available for viewing at your convenience following the service)