Halloween has come and gone, the elections are settled. Now it’s begun–the Holiday Season is officially upon us.
How do I know? Because Advent officially starts on November 25th this year.
I had never before paid attention to the idea of Advent until I met Kimberlee Conway Ireton.
Kimberlee is a lovely Christian author and speaker who also happens to live in Seattle–a rare and blessed thing. We connected online and set a time to meet a few weeks back. When we got together (in between playing on the floor with her children and drinking tea) she shared her book with me– The Circle of Season Meeting God in the Church Year.
I’ve been chewing on little morsels of its pages ever since.
Preparing for or even thinking about Advent is an all-new process for me. You see, I don’t do Advent. Although the liturgies of the church calendar have not been part of my worship tradition, I’ve participated in the observances in other churches and have been very moved by them. This new way of marking time makes so much sense, for “all time is sacred because God is present in it.” (from the Introduction, p.13).
In light of focusing continually on Christ I am finishing Chapter One–Advent, A Season of Waiting. Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas–this year it is November 25th. (To remind us once more).
Advent is a slow build of anticipation to the celebration of Christ’s birth. As the outside seasons slowly turn rather than ‘click’ from Summer to Fall with the snap of a finger, so this time of pondering helps us prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ.
I’m learning the days are not just numbers to check off on a calendar. They can be filled with rich meaning and purpose. Each Sunday focuses on a word–Wait, Prepare, Rejoice and Love. These are observed by lighting a candle, either pink (joy), purple (the color of repentance) or blue (hope).
The Sunday words of Advent:
In Hebrew, the word for ‘WAIT’ is also the word for hope. We are hoping while we wait.
To ‘PREPARE’ is to be mindful of–pay attention to, be on guard
When we ‘REJOICE’ we can be ‘joyfully aware of the presence of God in our lives’
When we remember the fourth Sunday, ‘LOVE’, we are ‘gathered around a promise’ (Henri Nouwen)
From the first chapter alone I can tell I want to read more as Kimberlee has already provided morsel after morsel of rich food for thought. Whether you are new to the church year traditions as I am, or have practiced them forever, you’ll perhaps find a thought shared in a new way or an idea you’d never considered.
Kimberlee also provides some practical ideas at the end of each chapter, giving suggestions of things you might do in your own home that involve young children. How to incorporate the Advent candle lighting into your family’s time is shared in a precious way. These are precious reminders of how to teach the next generation, too, these treasures of the season, in one circle after another.
One thought from Kimberlee,
“The coming of Christ into our midst requires that we rethink our desires and that we learn to hold them lightly, allowing the desire of God to supplant –or increase–our own desires.” (p. 21).
Increasing my desire for God is one I hold dearly, the particular reason why this #cluelessEvangelical is looking forward to learning more about the Church Year liturgies and traditions. Circle of Seasons is the perfect primer for that~I hope you’ll find it as well.
*header image by Gaelle Marcel, Unsplash