Entering the Season of Advent

Wes CrawfordCliffNotes, Frontpage News

Today’s CliffNotes is a guest post by Wes Crawford, Worship Pastor at Christ Church.

“Come, Lord Jesus!” In this time between Christ’s first and second coming, we know that through his death and resurrection Jesus has won a decisive victory, and although we see some definite and significant effects of that victory, we still wait for its consummation. Though he has torn down dividing walls of hostility, we still feel the alienation and injustice of functional walls. Though he has erased the guilt of our sin and fully reconciled us to the Father, we still feel the effects of sin and darkness in our lives. Advent gives us space to name that tension and to cultivate anticipation for the One who will come and bring full, glorious resolution to it.

The liturgical calendar exists so that we can order our worship and our lives around the regular and dramatic telling of the story of our Lord Jesus. This Sunday the Christian year begins with the First Sunday of Advent, which consists of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. Although in our culture many use the word Advent to simply mean a ramp-up to Christmas, Advent has its own distinct focus. Similar to the way Lent prepares us for Easter, Advent is a season in which we cultivate longing for the coming of our Lord; as the people of God in the Old Testament expected the coming Messiah, we let their expectation train our hearts to expect his promised second coming.

Here are some things to look for in our worship, as well as some resources to help you observe the season of Advent:

  • On Sundays, you’ll see the colors change from the green of Ordinary Time to purple as we enter this penitential season. You’ll see the Advent candles lit each Sunday. You’ll hear our music take a slight turn to more minor keys and an engagement with classic Advent hymns (though Christmas carols will wait until Christmas). We will sing the Trisagion (“Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us.”), and we will sing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” as our entrance processional. You’ll smell incense in the room as well.
  • Shaun & Katie Fox have created a beautiful Advent devotional guide, which you can download here or pick up on the welcome table on Sunday.
  • There is a Parish Quiet Day on Saturday, December 16th from 9am–12:30pm at one of our parishioners’ homes in north Austin. This will be time set aside for prayer and reflection around scripture, liturgy, and art, and will also include time alone for journaling and to be still in God’s presence. Email info@christchurchofaustin.org for location and to RSVP.
  • If the liturgical calendar is new to you, one of our sister churches in our diocese has produced a helpful visual overview here.
  • Here is a playlist of Advent-themed hymns and songs.

Our Advent and Christmas service times will be as follows:

  • December 3rd: Advent I at 9am and 11am
  • December 10th: Advent II at 9am and 11am
  • December 17th: Advent III at 9am and 11am
  • December 24th: Advent IV at 10am, Christmas Eve services at 6pm (with children’s pageant) and 8pm
  • December 31st: Lessons & Carols service at 10am

Eagerly awaiting the coming of our Lord,
Wes Crawford

P.S.  Who can you invite to our Ceili this Sunday? Men, it’s not too late to let us know you are bringing a chili!