Advent Week #1
Advent Week #1
CRI / The Voice website — This is a resource site, they post the lectionary and other daily Bible readings. You can also get good articles on liturgy, theology and other helpful topics.
Vanderbilt Divinity School posts a really clean and easy version of the lectionary that might be helpful for your Sunday and weekly scripture readings.
There are also some great phone & iPad apps that i have found helpful.
Here are the two i use the most. I’ll share more in following days and weeks.
#1. BCP for the iPhone or iPad — This is a great app that contains the entire Book of Common prayer. The daily office and Sunday lectionary readings (daily and weekly readings) are essentially the home page to the app. This makes it really easy to always have your daily Bible reading with you.
#2. YouVersion — this is a Bible app you can get on pretty much any mobile or tablet platform. It allows you to download different versions of the Bible right onto your phone. I use it for the Bible reading plans they have. They have a few Advent / Christmas reading plans you should check out.
There are also A TON of Advent calendar apps for iPhones users. I’m going to post a couple of my favorites tomorrow. But today, you should search and find some of your own favorites!
As mentioned, the Sunday readings in your book are for year B of the Revised Common Lectionary.
The best place to find all of these years & readings listed are CRI / The Voice website
The Church Year begins with Advent in November/December.
Here is a quick look at the breakdown of years from the Revised Common Lectionary.
Click on the year below to take you to the Sunday readings you are looking for.
Year A: 2016-2017, 2019-2020
Year B: 2017-2018; 2020-2021
Year C: 2015-2016; 2018-2019
Greetings, Advent friends!
I hope your first Sunday in Advent was amazing and that you’re excited about the journey ahead!
WARNING :: from time to time I might drop in a post, some web content that isn’t prompted by an icon in the book. So keep coming back and looking around! Be alert and wait for it! After all, IT’S ADVENT!
Our scripture for today, Luke 1:5-25, is really great because it connects so well with our theme this week, “WAIT”. I would recommend reading it in a few translations and checking out The Message version. Let the story sink in, place yourself in the setting and allow the situation to come to life. Almost every person can identify with how Zechariah and Elizabeth wait.
Here are verses 18 - 20 in my own words:
“How can I be sure of what you’re saying? I’m old and my wife is way past her baby-making days. We’ve been waiting so long that we’ve given up. Are you sure?” The angel replies, “I’m an angel, man. I stand in God’s presence, and God Himself sent me to tell you this good news. But because you’ve let your waiting turn into doubting, you’re gonna need to wait a little longer. No communication for you. Just wait and see.”
Advent / Christmas music…
Music is a HUGE part of the Advent and Christmas experience for me. But finding really good, Advent-specific music is hard. Most tunes are specifically Christmas, talking about Jesus’ birth and the things we will celebrate after Christmas day, during Christmastide. I want to hear about that, but it’s not Christmas yet—it’s Advent!
So every Monday, I will post my favorite Advent music recommendations, Spotify playlists and free music you can get your hands on.
Here’s the first Advent edition of MUSIC MONDAYS.
If I could choose one Advent album, it would be Advent Volume 1 by The Brilliance. So good, it's definitely a must listen! There is is >>> take a listen! >>>
Volume 2 is also seems to be pretty great.
Mike Crawford & The Secret Siblings
The reason I like this album (it's on Spotify) so much is because it’s very Advent specific. The song “There’s a Voice in the Wilderness” … Such a great Advent tune! This band comes out of a really cool church community in Kansas City, check them out www.jacobswellchurch.org
Noisetrade - is a website where you can get free music! The only cost is spreading the word on twitter and/or Facebook. They have a pretty good amount of Advent / Christmas music, i’ll give you a Noisetrade recommendation every week!
My recommendation this week is The Paste Holiday Sampler 2013. Paste does one of these every year (you can find some some versions on Noisetrade as well). I have a few of them. Highlights of this album are… Sufjan Stevens, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, Micah Dalton. Be careful, it's only all "Advent" specific music. Skill the Christmas tracs until Christmas!
I have posted some Advent playlists on Spotify, just seach for erikwillits. You can keep an eye on my Twitter feed ( erikwillits ) and on my blog, I usually post Advent tunes I'm listening to and other Advent thoughts I might have. www.ErikWillitsBlog.com
Well, after some technical difficulties I’ve lost a very stellar post I had written up for you! So let me simplify and lead you into an Advent Experiment.
The experiment is to create your own Advent calendar.
You know the kind that has little chocolates hidden behind a door for every day of Advent? Well, because we are flipping the script on the parties and presents, I want to encourage you to be creative and create your own Advent calendar!
It could be virtual or, if you’re crafty, make one with your bare hands!
HINT :: look around on Pinterest for TONS of ideas!
For every day, find a scripture or prayer that encourages you on your Advent journey.
For every day, think of a creative way to give instead of receive.
Write a note of encouragement, sit with an elderly person, sing some Christmas carols to strangers, give away some of your extra winter clothes, clean the bathrooms for your parents. There are a million little and big things you can do as Advent experiments in preparing for the coming Christ. So do one every day!
This could be a fun Instagram activity with your friends.
#AdventExperiment — see who can outdo who in love and deeds this Advent! (Hebrews 10:24)
Remember, this is not to brag, but to encourage others and to remind yourself of the work God is doing in and through you this Advent. Use the hashtag and we’ll all share in the awesome things God is doing.
iGadgets & phone apps!
There are also a million and one iPhone and iPad apps that you can use. Some are cool, some are helpful, most are just Advent / Christmas calendars. Look around, find your favorite and share it with everybody on Twitter and Instagram. Use the hashtag #AdventJourney to share what you've found
This app is connected to the book Advent Conspiracy and shares some really cool ways to engage in an Advent where you give more than you receive and worship God more fully. Love it!
This app is a cool little calendar. Every day of Advent it gives you a new Advent song to listen to. It’s pretty classical music but take it in and use the few minutes of the song to think and pray about your Advent journey, pondering what God is trying to do in your life.
This is a cool little app with a bunch of social network connections and videos. It’s also connected to a charity that helps you to give instead of just get this Advent. Lots to play around with.
This fun app looks REALLY cool. Nothing substantial or meaningful about it, but it’s fun to just play around with!
Like I said, there are TONS of them. Find your favorite and share it!
Grace, peace, and experiments
I wanted to share a couple videos by Fr. Robert Barron. He’s a Catholic bishop but don’t let that fool you—he is awesome and can preach! He says more in his 10 - 15 minute sermons than I could say in a week!
His website is www.wordonfire.org — you can listen to his Advent sermons and read some articles he has written. The sermons are great and his Youtube videos are also really good!
Word On Fire and Fr. Robert Barron are great Advent resources for us on this Advent journey.
Here's another video for your view pleasure!
A friend mentioned this site to me, then it crossed my path on Facebook, and then as I was surfing the Web for Advent nuggets and I came across is again. It seems meant to be! And it’s pretty cool. A post a day, along with a reflective prayer song. Definitely worth checking out.
Here's what they say,
"The Biola University Center for Christianity, Culture and the Arts (CCCA) is a significant transdisciplinary resource for thoughtful consideration of and critical engagement with our culture, the arts and Christian faith."
Well, we’ve gotta have a little fun! ;-)
I thought this video was pretty funny, and it ends with a serious take on Advent as well.
This organization XT3 is an Australian Catholic organization doing some cool things to engage youth and make their faith and tradition relevant to young people! I haven’t looked around thoroughly but what I’ve seen so far I like.
They have an Advent calendar that gives very short little devotional thoughts with some really interesting bits as well. And it has a cool interface.
There is also an iPhone or Android app to go with it! BONUS!
Check it out and keep embracing your wait this Advent!
I have decided to post another little experiment. It’s something I will be challenging our students to do during this weekend’s services. ( We’ll see if any of them are reading this Web Guide and have a head start on it! )
The experiment is to keep your eyes open for opportunities to wait. That’s right, opportunities!
Usually when we are in the line at the store, stuck in traffic, waiting for our video games to load or TV show to start, we get impatient and probably check our phones, text our friends or just get upset that we are having to wait.
If you are tracking along in the Advent book, you know that our waiting is a Grace, a free gift that God is giving us so that we can pray and prepare for whatever He will be sending our way—namely Himself.
So find those moments of waiting and take advantage of them with prayer, patience and preparation of your heart and mind for the coming of Christ.
Make a little list of all the opportunities you have been given to wait and share them with a friend, with your family, with your community or whoever you are reading the Advent book with.
If you Instagram or Facebook, at the end of the day share a few of the opportunities you were able to take advantage of. Use the hashtag #AdventJourney to share it with others who are on this Advent journey with you.
Good luck and let the waiting begin!
But first... I wanted to share a couple of my favorite Soren Kierkegaard books with you incase you were curious and wanted some challenging reading after Advent.
The book referenced in the Advent devotional for today is…
Works Of Love
My favorite Kierkegaard book is…
Fear and Trembling
It’s a fascinating piece written around the story of Abraham and Isaac
To Will One Thing
This is a book written in journal form and is a compelling and challenging discourse on the Christian life.
He has a lot of good stuff but is also very challenging. Buyer beware. But enjoy!
I also thought I would share this. I ran across the following Advent parable on the web. I’m not positive it’s from Kierkegaard but I thought I would share anyway. I’ve heard this famous story from a few sources and it’s worth pondering during this Advent Journey!
“Once upon a time, there was a prince who was single and very eager to marry a lovely maiden for his future queen. Near his palace was a large city, and often he rode his carriage down to the city to take care of various chores for his father. One day, to reach a particular merchant, he had to go through a rather poor section. He happened to glance out of the window and right into the eyes of a beautiful maiden.
"He had occasion on the next few days to return to the section of the city–drawn as he was by the eyes of the maiden. And more than that, he had the good fortune once or twice actually to meet this young girl. Soon he began to feel that he was in love with her. But now he had a problem. How should he proceed to procure her hand?
"Of course, he could order her to the palace and there propose marriage. But even a prince would like to feel that the girl he marries wants to marry him. Or perhaps, somewhat more graciously, he could arrive at her door in his most resplendent uniform and, with a bow, ask her hand. But even a prince wants to marry for love.
"Again, he could masquerade as a peasant and try to gain her interest. After he proposed, he could pull off his ‘mask.’ Still, the masquerade would be 'phony.’ He really could not manage it.
"Finally a real solution presented itself to his mind. He would give up his kingly role and move into her neighborhood. There he would take up work as, say, a carpenter. During his work in the day and during his time off in the evening, he would get acquainted with the people, begin to share their interests and concerns, begin to talk their language. And in due time, should fortune be with him, he would make her acquaintance in a natural way. And should she come to love him, as he had already come to love her, then he would ask for her hand.”
This was God’s problem with us. He loved us and He wanted our love. But it had to be free and voluntary love. He could have ordered us to love Him but that would not be voluntary. He could have appeared to us in his kingly glory, but who would not in awe obey such a King? He wanted to win our love without dazzling and overwhelming us by the magnificence of His divinity. This is why St. Paul writes “…though he was by nature God, [He] did not consider being equal with God a thing to be clung to, but emptied himself, taking the nature of a slave, and being made like unto men. And appearing in the form of man he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even to death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8). He met us on our own level that we might respond free.
Advent is the time for us to respond to His love.
I wanted to share this video from Rowen Williams. He is an Anglican Bishop, the former Archbishop of Canterbury. He’s brilliant and shares some great thoughts for us on this, the last day of the first week of Advent.
I also wanted to share a few other scriptures that I have thought about this week.
Spend a few extra minutes, read these verse and thank God for your Advent journey—all that he will teach you and all that he will prepare you for as you wait in anticipation for the birth of Jesus.