Advent Unpacked

Rev. Cliff WarnerCliffNotes

Dear Christ Church,

Before I go any further, I have to say that last Sunday’s Ceili and Chili Cook-off were epic! This place was vibrating with energy and you, Christ Church, were shining with uninhibited joy. It was the biggest, loudest ever. And Tommy Crawford finally won the Texas Chili prize after 13 annual attempts!

Advent Music. Ever wonder why we sing the same song, O Come, Emmanuel, at the start of every Advent service? The phrase “O Come, Emmanuel” is one of eight ancient phrases called the “O Antiphons” that date back to the 6th century. These were sung as part of the vespers service every night for a week leading up to the Feast of the Incarnation. O Come, Emmanuel is one of the eight, but also condenses and paraphrases all the O Antiphons. We sing this song weekly during Advent to approximate the ancient tradition of singing the O Antiphons daily in anticipation of Christmas. You can learn more about this beloved Advent Carol at our diocesan podcast.

Advent Yearning. During Advent we yearn for the coming of the King and kingdom, when all things broken shall be healed, and wrongs made right. That’s why we have a justice focus on three of the Advent Sundays, followed by intercession. So far we heard from John Nehme about human trafficking and the work of Allies; this Sunday we will hear from Simon Kenyon on homelessness and the work of our ministry partner Church Under the Bridge/Mission Possible; and next week will hear from Lynn Blum and the call to whole-life care, particularly the unborn and their mothers. 

Advent Sermons. Last Sunday, as part of our Advent sermon series on sin, I talked about idolatry and recommended a 19th century sermon “The Expulsory Power of a New Affection,” by Thomas Chalmers. Join us Sunday as the series continues our look at sin, this time from the angle of isolation/alienation, as we prepare our hearts and watch for the Light to come. 

Advent Generosity. At the end of the year many of us are considering how we might catch up on our planned giving, offer a special generous gift or, if you are new to Christ Church, start the practice of financial giving in your new church home. It takes the whole people of God bringing our gifts of time, treasure, and talent to be the transforming presence of God in our city. Join us here in the joy of giving this Advent.

Peace, Cliff+