14 November 2014

Advent 2014

Gettin' ready for Advent, the first liturgical season I fell in love with!  Sister, Daughter, Mother, Wife has a great Advent linkup. Check it out!

Here's my Advent post from way back in 2011, edited a bit:

And again Isaiah says,
"The root of Jesse will come,
    even he who arises to rule the Gentiles;
    in him will the Gentiles hope."

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, 
                            so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.                                 
Romans 15:12-13

The Last Judgment Fra Angelica

Happy New Year!  The Christian Church, at least in the West, marks Advent as the beginning of a new church year.  We look forward, as ancient Israel did, to Christ's birth, but as the New Israel, also to Christ's return in glory.  Meanwhile, we enjoy His very presence in Word and Sacrament.  While looking for Advent material, I found two meditations on Christ yesterday, today, and forever.  

On a Roman Catholic site is an essay based on a quotation by St.Bernard: "In the first coming, He comes in the flesh and in weakness; in the second, He comes in spirit and in power; in the third, He comes in glory and in majesty; and the second coming is the means whereby we pass from the first to the third."

I did not disagree with that statement, or really with the rest of the essay (with a few exceptions). However, the Advent banner over at lcms.org was more compelling: "As Christ came long ago in Bethlehem, so we pray He would come among us today in Word and Sacrament and again in all His glory in the last day."

Bernard is right, Christ through the Holy Spirit dwells among His Church in spirit and power, as 1 Corinthians 2:4 says, but more specifically in how does He tabernacle among us? By Word and Sacrament, still in the Flesh

During Advent we remember His first coming "in flesh and weakness," but also confess He continues to come to us, in the Flesh, and in weakness (plain water, simple bread and wine, a sinful pastor). God's ways are hidden, and appear weak to us. Flesh and weakness are not replaced by Spirit and power, but rather actually deliver to us the power of the Holy Spirit, that is, the gift of faith and salvation.

So, as Lutherans, rejoice in the hope to come, God's glory.  But remain in the little helpless God-Baby, born in Bethlehem, and the naked, wretched God-Man, cursed and dead on Golgotha. Continue to eat His Flesh and drink His Blood until He returns.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  Romans 5:1-2

One of the many concerns of Christian parents, across confessions, is how to "take back Christmas," or keep Jesus the "reason for the season."  For liturgical Christians, this can mean restoring Advent and moving Christmas to its historical place (beginning at Christmas Day, but lasting  all the way to Epiphany!). One way to observe Advent is to save your festivities (cookies, parties, open houses) for the real Christmas season. Another is to wait to decorate until Christmas Week, or even Christmas Eve.

And I think Advent is a beautiful season for the woman of the house.  She can plan, cook, clean and wrap without stressing out. Then she can actually relax for days instead of one day. Everything is drawn out and takes longer and tastes sweeter because there isn't a mad rush.  A mad rush to prepare, a mad rush to party, then it's all over.  I know some families who do their Christmas shopping after Christmas Day, then spread the giving out over the rest of the season.  On a practical level, praise God for Advent!

Here are some sites with great ideas (use your discretion; only the third one is Lutheran)

Baby Steps for Celebrating Advent
Fisheaters-Advent Overview
Christmas in September (lots of Advent ideas, too!  Read through all the comments!)

What we're gonna do....

Learn a new hymn
Slowly decorate the house:
On Advent Sundays put electric candles in each window, and an Advent Wreath on the table.
Eight days before Christmas ("Golden Days" singing the O Antiphons) we'll add Christmas lights and an empty Nativity Scene.
Hide-n-seek each morning during Christmas Week for certain Nativity figures until Mary on Christmas Eve and Jesus on Christmas Day.  Wisemen begin to make the trek from upstairs.
 We always get our tree a few days before Christmas and decorate it on Christmas Eve
Attend midweek services (if this is too hard with many little ones, ask your pastor to send you a copy             of the order of service, list of hymns, and copy of his homily)
Make Christmas gifts
Make Christmas cookies and treats to freeze, to consume only during Christmas
Introduce new (read "different") prayers to memorize and pray during bed time
Continue to memorize the catechism

Other ideas I'm interested in, but am not committing to, yet:

*Collecting 30 or so religious picture books to wrap up in tissue paper and "unwrap" each evening before bed to read.  Of course, many will be Christmas-themed, but not all of them.  An Arch Book on John the Baptist (preparing the world for the first advent of Christ) would be appropriate, or some of the parables about the Parousia. You could, over time, collect a lot from amazon/garage sales/used book stores.

*Freezing meals over advent to use during Christmas. What a great way to prepare to rest during the season!

What are you doing special for Advent?

Comfort, comfort ye my people,

speak ye peace, thus saith our God;
comfort those who sit in darkness,
mourning 'neath their sorrow's load;
speak ye to Jerusalem
of the peace that waits for them;
tell her that her sins I cover,

and her warfare now is over.


  1. Love your ideas Katy especially the freezer meals prepped for Christmas, like a Christmas gift to myself!

  2. Hey stranger! I love your advent ideas. And definitely agree that this is a wonderful time for the woman of the house. (love this blog theme btw) Rebekah

    1. This is a project dear to my heart that has fallen by the wayside (thanks to Aubri not completely forgotten). Maybe someday I'll finish :)

  3. Thanks for joining the SDMW link-up! These are great ideas. I also appreciate the point about Christ coming in weakness.

    1. Thanks for visiting, Anna, and for the link-up, too!