Paul Robinson
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In Advent the Church begins her annual journey with Jesus from his nativity to his coming again in glory. During this season we wait with Israel of old for the coming Messiah. As Christians, we know our Messiah has come in Christ, so we are preparing for the celebration of Christmas. At the same time, we pray earnestly for the coming “Day of the Lord,” when all brokenness will be mended and all Evil will be cast out.

As the Virgin Mary submitted herself to the will of God and allowed the Word of God to make his dwelling within her, during Advent we follow Mary’s example and prepare our own hearts to be the dwelling place of Emmanuel (God with us). In our world we are bombarded by false messiahs vying for our allegiance. During Advent, Christians consciously resist these illusions that surround us and re-orient our vision and direction toward Christ.

This is never easy. This time of year is infuriatingly busy for most of us. To help, we have provided resources, suggested music, and practices which you may choose to include in your Advent journey. We are particularly excited about a guide that Kristin has created for family worship and meals during Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. The guide is available by donation. Scroll down for more details. 

Our prayer is that each of us would discover ancient and new rhythms that anchor us to hope in Christ. And when we feel like giving up because the weight of the world is more than we can bear, it is in those moments that we pray most earnestly: 'Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!'


 
Physical copies of Kristin Robinson's 'Liturgical Eating' guide for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany are available by donation (donations going to Saint Thomas Mission). You can view a preview by clicking on the image on the left. This beautiful guide includes table liturgies with prayers, scripture readings, and poetry, as well as seasonal recipes. Copies will be available at church throughout Advent. You might also consider getting a copy for a friend or family member. If you would like a digital copy, please email [email protected]
Listening to music and singing hymns throughout the week is one simple way for us to bring Advent into our homes. Rather than skipping straight to Christmas carols, the songs in this playlist are all Advent themed. The playlist includes traditional hymns like 'O Come, O Come Emmanuel,' and 'Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, as well as a number of new and re-discovered hymns. Have a listen!
 
ADVENT PRACTICES & HABITS
Counter-Cultural Practices to Re-orient Ourselves Toward Christ
 
THE DAILY OFFICES: Morning and Evening Prayer (along with regular participation in Holy Communion) is the backbone of daily worship for Christians all over the world. There is no better time to begin than Advent. Visit The Trinity Mission or Texts for Common Prayer (ANCA) for good starting points.

THE ADVENT WREATH: A wreath made of evergreens into which candles have been placed. Traditionally, it has four candles – three blue or purple, and one rose coloured. In the centre may be placed a tall white Christ Candle. Each Sunday of Advent an additional candle is lit. See Kristin's Liturgical Eating guide for wreath-lighting liturgies. 

WAITING: Don't jump straight to Christmas! Spend these weeks preparing progressively for the celebration of Jesus' birth. 

DECORATIONS: The colour blue (and/or purple) represents our waiting and preparing for the coming king. How can you add these colours to your home? If you plan to decorate for the season of Christmas, do it gradually as we go through Advent, slowly adding ornaments to the tree or figurines to the nativity set. 

FASTING: By practicing an 'ascetical fast' during Advent, our hunger for food and our hunger for Christ are paralleled. An ascetical fast is a “reduction of food” resulting in a permanent state of a certain hunger that is “lived as a reminder of God and a constant effort to keep our mind on Him.” 

MUSIC: Advent songs such as, 'O Come, O Come Emmanuel,' and 'Come Thou Long Expected Jesus are great starting points. See the Sojourn Spotify Playlist for good advent tunes.