Anglican Heritage / Advent traditions: Christingle Services

December 9, 2014

Although a cradle-Episcopalian, there’s much I’ve still to learn about Anglican heritage and traditions – especially those traditions more common in the Church of England, or other provinces.

The Rev. Patrick Comerford, Canon of Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin has some interesting resources and information about Chrstingle Services.

A Christingle is an orange surmounted by a lighted candle and decorated with fruit and a red ribbon. This is a Moravian tradition that was introduced to Anglicans in recent years. It was developed by the (Church of England) Children’s Society, and has become increasingly popular in the Church of Ireland.


His post today features a Christingle hymn: ‘Round orange, round orange, you serve as a sign’

The verses of this hymn follow the process of creating a Christingle, using an orange and the other symbolic decorations. As the Christingle is created, verses 1 to 4 may be sung one at a time, preceding or following each stage of the activity. Then the whole hymn (verses1 to 5) can be sung at the end.

The hymn is rich with symbolism that coincides with the symbols used in the hymn. The orange represents the world. The red ribbon indicates the love and blood of Christ. The dried fruits and sweets are symbols of God’s creations. The lit candle symbolises Christ, the light of the world.

Round orange, round orange, you serve as a sign

by Elizabeth Consett

Round orange, round orange, you serve as a sign
That God made the round world with purpose divine.

The power of love is always the same:
Be glad, give thanks, rejoice in God’s name.

Red ribbon, you tell of the bloodshed and pain.
Which led to forgiveness when Jesus was slain.
The full entry is here.

You can learn MUCH more about Christingle traditions and services from the website of the Children’s Society of the Church of England, which has a dedicated Christingle page.

Excellent list of Advent resources – via Anglican Mainstream

December 9, 2014

Apologies that it’s taken me so long to post this.   Having been almost totally offline for 4 days, I’m just now catching up on some stuff I should have posted days ago…

Via Anglican Mainstream, this excellent compilation of Advent Resources

Also they have posted a nice reflection What is the Point of Advent.  I appreciated this section especially:

Might this be a model to prepare ourselves in Advent, following the example of the early missionaries: to pray, examine ourselves, perhaps fast, remember again the story we were told and prepare to help others with it; to be an example so that not only will the message be received, but those listening will see as they did with the early missionaries, that we live that message out in our lives; that we practice what we preach.  This was what according to Bede, finally persuaded the listeners to the early missionaries to the English of the truth of the message they lived out.

So perhaps that preparation and vigilance may mean penitence and fasting and prayer, and serving others, but it may be good to approach Advent with a hopeful end and intention: to prepare ourselves at the start of this new church year for the work ahead, in longing and anticipation of Christ coming close in our lives, and being prepared to pass on to others the story made part of our lives.   What could be better than to tell each other again the story told to our ancestors as Bede relates, and to tell others of that story?  That is a meaning for Advent I can understand.

As the introduction to the Advent Carol Service puts it:

“Beloved in Christ, as we prepare this Advent to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child, let us hear again in the words of the Scriptures the story of God’s loving purpose in our creation and redemption. Let us bring to mind the goodness of God in calling the creation into his light; his mercy in Christ Jesus in drawing us from the darkness of sin; and his grace to us and to all sinners in summoning us by his Holy Spirit, as the dawn of his kingdom breaks upon us”

So I am going to follow a course of scriptural readings during Advent, looking forward to the coming of the good news and remembering Bede and those who bring the Gospel..

Finally, here are the links to various Advent sermons & worship services from this past Sunday.

Fantastic Advent song: All Things New by Red Mountain Music

December 9, 2014

FANTASTIC.  This is such a lovely song and it perfectly expresses our Advent longing and groaning for the Lord’s coming to restore all things and destroy the curse of sin.

To listen / download the song:  Red Mountain Music: All Things New

 The lyrics and music can be found here.

May our love not wax cold, but may the Lord help us remain alert and watchful in eager expectation of His return.


Another good song from Red Mountain Music for Advent:  How Sweet to Wait


UPDATE:  with a little bit more time online this morning, I was able to find the original hymn, Come Lord and Tarry Not by Horatius Bonar which inspired Red Mountain’s version of “All Things New.”

Come, Lord, and Tarry Not” (Horatius Bonar, 1846)

Come Lord, and tarry not;
Bring the long-looked-for day;
O why these years of waiting here,
These ages of delay?

Come, for Thy saints still wait;
Daily ascends their sigh:
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come”:
Dost Thou not hear the cry?

Come, for creation groans,
Impatient of Thy stay,
Worn out with these long years of ill,
These ages of delay.

Come, and make all things new;
Build up this ruined earth;
Restore our faded Paradise,
Creation’s second birth.

Come, and bring Thy reign
Of everlasting peace;
Come, take the kingdom to Thyself,
Great King of Righteousness.



Jesus, the Long-Awaited Perfect King

December 9, 2014

The following is excerpted from a teaching on the Kingdom of God from the Gospel Project website.  It works well as an Advent reflection.  May our awareness of injustice, evil and the weaknesses and failures of even the best earthly rulers and governments stir up in our hearts a greater longing for Christ’s return as King.

The True and Greater King

“Kingdom” is one of the primary themes of the Bible’s storyline, and this storyline finds its climax in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Our hopes for a greater king are fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ.

In the Gospel accounts alone, there are more than one hundred references to the kingdom of God (or “kingdom of heaven,” as in Matthew). In John, Jesus speaks of the kingdom of God as His kingdom (3:3,5; 18:36). Moreover, the New Testament writers indicate that the kingdom of Christ is the same thing as the kingdom of God (Eph. 5:5; Rev. 11:15; 12:10). According to Jesus, He is the true King for whom all of humanity has longed.

Jesus is the perfect King who rules with justice. Jesus not only seeks but is able to bring lasting welfare for the people. So, even with their flaws, the good aspects of the Old Testament kings give us a glimpse of what was to come. In other words, all of the biblical accounts of earlier kings cast King Jesus’ shadow. Jesus is the last Adam who will reign and exercise dominion over the restored Eden (Rev. 22:1-5). Jesus is the true Judge and King who reigns in His unshakable kingdom (Heb. 12:22-24,28). Jesus is both the son of David and the Son of God, the king from the line of David whose throne and dominion is everlasting (Luke 1:32-33).

With the coming of Jesus, the kingdom is present (Luke 17:20-22; Rev. 1:9). Yet, the kingdom is also future (Rev. 11:15). As Christians, we know that the full reality of His rule awaits His second coming (Matt. 13:30,39,47-50; 25:1-13; 2 Tim. 4:1). We also know that in Him, all of our hopes are fulfilled. Jesus is the true and greater King we have all been waiting for. Therefore, let us bow before the true King. He is worthy of our adoration and allegiance. Jesus’ rule extends to every aspect of our lives and therefore we serve him as under-kings in every realm of life (e.g., work, school, parenting, household chores, recreation, etc.).

And let us longingly wait for His return, when all things will be as they should. Eden may have been lost by the failures of the first king Adam, and no other human king has been able to restore it. But one day, Jesus will return, and with His return, His kingdom will be consummated and a greater Eden be restored.

Read the full entry here

From “The Story of God’s Kingdom” by Matt Capps (M.Div., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary). Matt serves as a Teaching Pastor at The Fellowship, and as the Brand Manager for The Gospel Project in Nashville, TN


A good Advent hymn for a family sing-a-long: Long Ago Prophets Knew

December 4, 2014

I tweeted about this hymn the other day, but did not find time to post it here at the blog. Via Patrick Comerford’s Advent 2014 Hymns for Advent series, I discovered this new-to-me Advent hymn “Long Ago Prophets Knew”

The hymn may be new to me, but the tune is one I know well – it’s the tune to the Christmas carol “On this day earth shall ring.”  So many Advent hymns are in minor keys or hard to sing.  The combination of an easy tune to sing and the rhyming lyrics, as well as the message of the words makes this hymn a very good one for Advent family devotions.

Long ago, prophets knew
Christ would come, born a Jew,
come to make all things new;
bear his people’s burden,
freely love and pardon.

Ring, bells, ring, ring, ring!
Sing, choirs, sing, sing, sing!
When he comes,
when he comes,
who will make him welcome?

God in time, God in man,
this is God’s timeless plan:
He will come, as a man,
born himself of woman,
God divinely human: Refrain

Mary, hail! Though afraid,
she believed, she obeyed.
In her womb, God is laid:
till the time expected,
nurtured and protected, Refrain

Journey ends! Where afar
Beth’lem shines, like a star,
stable door stands ajar.
unborn Son of Mary,
Saviour, do not tarry!

Ring, bells, ring, ring, ring!
Sing, choirs, sing, sing, sing!
Jesus comes!
Jesus comes!
We will make him welcome!

Here’s a recording of this hymn via YouTube:

An Advent Prayer – We bear the need of a savior on our hearts…

December 4, 2014

From today’s Advent devotional entry at the Trinity School for Ministry website

reflecting on this verse: “And people shall enter the caves of the rocks and the holes of the ground, from before the terror of the Lord, and from the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to terrify the earth” (Isa 2:19)

Lord we bear the need of a savior on our hearts this day. Help us to see this need not only in these days of Advent but also in the days to follow. Equip us to preach a message of liberation to the captives and hope for all who find themselves hiding in caves. Your Word is light and Your Gospel breaks into the deepest of all human sinfulness. Savior of the nations, come and dwell with us in promise and hope this Advent. Amen.

The Rev. Kris Leland Snyder (DMin Student)
Pastor, Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Ackley, IA

An 8th c. Advent Hymn (Creator of the Stars of Night)

December 3, 2014

One of the bloggers I follow, Trevin Wax, posted a portion of an ancient Advent hymn on Sunday:

Come, Sun and Savior, to Embrace

2013112701advent_300Come, Sun and Savior, to embrace
Our gloomy world, its weary race,
As groom to bride, as bride to groom:
The wedding chamber, Mary’s womb.

At Your great Name, O Jesus, now
All knees must bend, all hearts must bow;
All things on earth with one accord,
Like those in heaven, shall call You Lord.

Come in Your holy might, we pray,
Redeem us for eternal day;
Defend us while we dwell below,
From all assaults of our dread foe.

– 8th century hymn

Many of our readers may recognize this as the final three stanzas of the lovely and wonderful Advent hymn Creator of the Stars of Night.

There is a great devotional reflection about this hymn here. (It’s a Google books page view, from An Advent Sourcebook, by Thomas O’Gorman, so I can’t copy an excerpt here, but it is really worth reading!)  You can also read the full lyrics, which differ slightly from the version of the hymn typically sung in modern churches.

Here is a nice chanted version of the hymn in Latin & English, performed by the Christendom College Choir & Schola Gregoriana:

Here’s a contemporary rendition from the album High Street Hymns:


Update:  I found a copy of the devotional reflection on this hymn which I cited above:

“FOR many, Advent would not be Advent if introduced by any other hymn. It is well-nigh impossible for even the best of poets to find a formula that really corresponds to the first line of the Latin text. The Latin “sidus” [“siderum”] means more than “star.” It includes the stars, of course, but also sun and moon and planets and all the heavenly constel¬lations and comets and meteors. These are the cosmic elements that will appear in later stanzas of the hymn. For the ancients, these mysterious heavenly bodies that moved about and that had their cycles of waxing and waning and that in some unfathomable way could affect the course of human destiny-these heavenly bodies were perhaps living beings.

“The opening line of this Advent hymn should make us think of the great array of all the powerful cosmic bodies that figure in those eschatological texts of scripture where the whole of the created universe responds to the presence of its God. The point of reference is not some lovely nightfall scene studded with gently glimmering stars, but rather that Great Day when “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give her light, the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken” (Matthew 24:29). Indeed, this Advent hymn, if we really look at it, is something of a “Dies irae” in a less strident mode.

“In stanza three, the world’s evening draws to a close. We recognize in the last three lines of this stanza the allusion to verse six of Psalm 19, the verse that occurs so frequently in the Christmastide cycle: “And he, as a bridegroom coming forth from the bridal chamber, rejoices as a giant to run his course.” So just when the world seems doomed to certain extinction, the Sun comes forth in a blaze of light and begins its paschal journey across the whole of human life and experience. This imagery is especially appropriate towards the beginning of December and the first Sunday of Advent, when nights are growing progressively longer and longer, until, upon the arrival of the winter solstice just before Christmas, the inexorable onslaught of darkness is reversed with the birth of Christ, the Sun of Justice, who now begins to run his course over the whole of our existence.”

–Chrysogonous Waddell

Great Blog focused on Celebrating the Church Year

December 2, 2014

Thanks to Anne Kennedy, I just discovered this excellent blog The Celebration Project.  Here’s how the authors, Deb and Amy describe the blog:

Holidays—originally “Holy-days,” or days set apart for a purpose – were originally meant as a way to celebrate who God is and what He has done.  We have loved getting back to the roots of these holidays, digging out the elements that help us to celebrate God.

On this site you can expect to find suggestions for how to tangibly celebrate the various holidays and seasons with your family, recommendations for different resources to use, observations we’ve had in our own lives, and some of the thoughts we have as we walk this journey.

We have experienced more abundant life through these traditions.  We as Christians have more reasons to celebrate than others, so let’s do it!

Here’s their Advent Category.  So far they’ve posted one Advent entry and  two entries on St. Nicholas Day (which are categorized separately)

Advent: A Season Set Apart for Hope

St Nicholas Day – Part 1

St Nicholas Day – Part 2


FANTASTIC Advent Song – Graham Kendrick – The Candle Song

December 2, 2014

How about a great song from Graham Kendrick as you light your family Advent wreath tonight?

Here are the lyrics:

Like a candle flame
Flickering small in our darkness
Uncreated light
Shines through infant eyes

God is with us, alleluia (Men)
God is with us, alleluia (Women)
Come to save us, alleluia (Men)
Come to save us (Women)
Alleluia! (All)

Stars and angels sing
Yet the earth sleeps in shadows
Can this tiny spark
Set a world on fire?

Yet his light shall shine
From our lives, Spirit blazing
As we touch the flame
Of his holy fire

Graham Kendrick
Copyright © 1988 Make Way Music,

Idea for Jesse Tree ornaments (Wood burning)

December 2, 2014

Anyone in your family into wood burning?  Here’s a really nice set of Jesse Tree ornaments that could be a good craft activity for an older child…

Jesse Tree resources are always EXTREMELY popular at Lent & Beyond.  Our “All About Jesee Trees” post has nearly 40,000 page views!

You can find all our Jesse Tree resources using the Jesse Tree tag


Resources for Advent – Jesse Tree audio devotions (Redeemer Radio)

December 2, 2014

Redeemer Radio is a Catholic Radio station serving Northern Indiana and Ohio.

They have an AUDIO Jesse Tree devotional (with accompanying ornaments you can print)

Learn more about a member of Jesus’ family tree and about salvation history!

Each day there is an ornament that you hang on your own Jesse tree, seen the links for each day below, or you can download the Ornaments all on one page!

Here is a listing of all their Advent resources.

More Good Advent 2014 Resources for Children and Families

December 2, 2014

From the Diocese of Bath & Wells in the UK– A number of good resources for Advent.  I particularly like the “A is for Advent” poem and the Advent Alphabet ideas

They also have a very good Jesse Tree page – each day of Advent there is a new symbol and accompanying short devotional (including a Scripture verse and prayer) that is posted.

Advent quotes: Christ’s incarnation is the beginning of redemption… (Glenn Packiam)

December 2, 2014

From Anglican priest / songwriter / blogger Glenn Packiam:

When you journey through Advent to Christmas, you begin to see Jesus more fully. You recognize that His incarnation was the beginning of the redemption of the world and that His return is the completion of it. Advent pulls those two moments together. It overlays  the joy of His arrival as a helpless babe with the hope of His appearing as conquering King. Both arrivals are anticipated in celebrating Advent.

The full entry is here. – the whole entry is excellent, a combination of reflection and practical suggestions for a meaningful Advent, and filled with quotable quotes!

Advent: “Christ comes into our worst world” bringing hope in the deepest darkness

December 1, 2014

In the space of 24 hours, I’ve come across three excellent Advent devotional entries that all focus on the desperate reality of our broken world and the darkness of evil.  (More on those in just a minute…)

Perhaps I was particularly attuned to this theme as I spent several hours yesterday reading the first half of Isaiah, immersed in the terrible pronouncements of judgment and coming exile.  In doing so I noted how the prophecies of Christ shone brilliantly like precious jewels or laser beams in the context of such darkness.  The horrors of sin and evil make the promise of redemption and a savior so much more precious and wonderful!

For instance, just look at a few verses from Isaiah 1 (from yesterday and today’s daily lectionary readings):

Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the LORD, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged. Why will you still be struck down? Why will you continue to rebel? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and raw wounds; they are not pressed out or bound up or softened with oil. Your country lies desolate; your cities are burned with fire; in your very presence foreigners devour your land; it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners. (Isaiah 1:4-7 ESV)

They had “forsaken the Lord, despised the Holy One…,” and are described as utterly estranged, having no health or soundness, desolate, devoured…  How can there be any hope for them?

And yet just a few verses later, the wonderful promise of cleansing from sin!

“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. (Isaiah 1:18 ESV)

What an illustration of the unfathomable depths of God’s grace and mercy!  So, I was reminded not to shrink back from the “hard” Advent readings that reveal the desperate darkness of the world and the human heart…

Pondering these things, I then began browsing various blogs and Twitter to finalize our list of recommended Advent devotional sites and resources… and in doing so I’ve come across the following three devotionals- each very different from the other –  that do a brilliant job of confronting the reality of evil and pointing to how our honesty about the blackness and desperation of sin and suffering heightens our ability to treasure Christ and the HOPE in Him that is a focus of Advent.


First:  a powerful and poignant blog entry by Sarah Bessey, a woman who has known the grief of losing 4 children –  Advent: for the ones who know longing.    Here are two excerpts:

Advent simply means “coming” – so for me, it is about the waiting. When people talk about “living in the tension” I think of Advent. It’s the time when we prepare to celebrate his birth and we also acknowledge that we are waiting here still for every tear to be wiped away. I think of the waiting for the Christ child, yes, and I think of the still-waiting for all things to be made right, for our longing for Shalom.

Would we be so filled with joy at his arrival if we weren’t so filled with longing already?

If Christmas is for the joy, then Advent is for the longing.

As I learned in particular through our lost babies, one after another after another, the joy born out of suffering and longing is more beautiful for its very complexity. I am learning it again in these days in particular when so many are grieving and angry, sad and wounded from the pain of living in this world as it stands right now. The joy doesn’t erase the longing and the sadness that came before but it does redeem it, it may even stain backwards changing how we look at those days or years. But the joy is made more real, richer and deeper perhaps, because we longed for it with all our hearts for so many days.  […]

I need my Saviour who suffers with us, my God who weeps, who longs to gather us to himself as a mother hen gathers her chicks.

Advent has become more important to me as I’ve gotten older.

When I was young, I couldn’t understand this emphasis on waiting – let’s get to the Christmas joy!

Now that I have wept, now that I have grieved, now that I have lost, now that I have learned to hold space with and for the ones who are hurting, now I have a place for Advent.

Now that I have fallen in step with the man from Nazareth, I want to walk where he walked into the brokenness of this life, and see the Kingdom of God at hand. Now that I have learned how much I need him, I have learned to watch for him.

Advent is for the ones who know longing.

Here’s the full entry.  Consider sharing with someone who is grieving this Advent to remind them that God enters into our brokenness and pain.  We don’t need to hide it.


Secondly, today’s entry (Dec 1) at the Biola Advent Project site.  There is a fantastic exposition of several passages from Lamentations:

Lamentations is a first-person account by the prophet Jeremiah, written as a poem. This book of the Old Testament chronicles the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. at the hands of the Babylonians, a fall which occurred because the people had hardened their hearts and refused to keep the covenant made between them and God.

The people had prostituted themselves to other gods by sacrificing to them in the high places. They had adopted the incomprehensible practice of sacrificing their children to the god Molech by burning them to death in a ceremonial fire. When you hear of these sorts of transgressions it is not difficult to support God’s destruction of Judah.

For eighteen months the people of Jerusalem endured the unrelenting siege of their city. … As the siege drags on and food begins to run out, Jeremiah describes how the people in their desperation begin to turn to cannibalism to survive (Lam 2:20, 4:10).

How in the world can anyone find hope in the middle of this storm of justifiable holy wrath? Jeremiah writes:

my soul is bereft of peace;
    I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say,

“My endurance has perished;
    so has my hope from the Lord.”

Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
    the wormwood and the gall!

 My soul continually remembers it
    and is bowed down within me. (Lamentations 3:17-20)

Yet, in the midst of this righteous punishment of a deeply sinful people (a punishment that seemingly should wring out any glimmer of hope,) Jeremiah reminds the reader that God is present even in the depths of despair.

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3: 21-23)

Simply put, God is not done yet. The book on the nation of Israel is not closed. The redemption of humanity from our fallen state is not just wishful thinking, but a covenantal promise from a God who keeps His word. Regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in, of our own making or not—God is faithful.

We look out at the dark ominous clouds on the horizon of our own existence with foreboding. We wonder how we can be forgiven of sins when our hearts are so desperately wicked, how we can survive this loss of a loved one, this catastrophic and debilitating disease, or a betrayal by someone we loved and trusted. The reality is we can’t . . . not by ourselves.

It is when we wait upon the Lord with hope—that is, with the expectation that eventually all things will be made new in Him—it is because of this hope we are able to have a perspective that transcends this mortal plane. Our hope is found in the coming of Christ in the flesh, “the author and perfecter of our faith,” and in His life, death and resurrection.  (emphasis added)

The full entry is here.


Finally, via Twitter, I discovered a post called Advent/Darkness by Christena Cleveland.  It is one of the most powerful Advent reflections I’ve ever read…, and somehow it seems especially needed this year in the face of Ebola, ISIS, terrorist beheadings… etc., etc.  There is a prose reflection at the beginning, followed by a poem, or word picture of sorts.

Here, first, is an excerpt of the introductory reflection:

We’ve been tricked by chocolate-filled Advent calendars and blissful Christmas pageants that gloss over the very real evil that makes the Messiah’s coming so very necessary, so very loving, and so very heroic.

Advent isn’t a holiday party. It doesn’t pressure us to conjure up a hopeful face, ring bells, and dismiss the foulest realities we face. Advent isn’t about our best world, it’s about our worst world. I think we eat the chocolate and put on the pageants because we don’t want to face the worst.

But we do the Light a disservice when we underestimate the darkness. Jesus entered a world plagued not only by the darkness of individual pain and sin, but also by the darkness of systemic oppression. Jesus’ people, the Hebrews, were a subjugated people living as exiles in their own land; among other things, they were silenced, targets of police brutality, and exploitatively taxed. They were a people so beaten down by society that only a remnant – most notably Anna and Simeon  – continued to believe that the Messianic prophecies would one day come to pass. For many, the darkness of long-standing oppression had extinguished any hope for liberation.

It was into this “worst world” that the Light-in-which-We-See-Light was born, liberating the people from the terror of darkness. So it is in the midst of our worst world that we, too, can most clearly see the Light, for light shines more brightly against a backdrop of true darkness.

Advent is an invitation to plunge into the deep, dark waters of our worst world, knowing that when we re-surface for air we will encounter the hopeful, hovering Spirit of God. For when we dive into the depths of our worst world, we reach a critical point at which our chocolate and pageants no longer satiate our longing for hope – and we are liberated by this realization. Indeed, the light of true hope is found in the midst of darkness.

 And here is the poem.  Read it slowly, and let it become a prayer, that Christ’s light and truth and salvation would break into and be revealed to those facing the deepest terror and suffering:






Advent/Oppression of Indigenous Peoples


Advent/Political polarization

Advent/Human trafficking

Advent/Mental illness stigma

Advent/Ebola treatment inequality

Advent/Immigration injustice



Advent/School-to-Prison Pipeline

Advent/West Bank

Advent/Spiritual Abuse

Advent/Economic inequality


Advent/Segregated churches


Advent/Police brutality

Advent/Global oppression of women and girls



Come, Lord Jesus. Come.

Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Genesis 1:3

The full entry by Christena Cleveland is here.

Advent: Expectation rather than Penitence

December 1, 2014

The Rev. Patrick Comerford has a good overview of Advent at his blog today.  I found this section helpful:

This season is a reminder of the original waiting for the coming of the Messiah. But more especially it is a reminder of our waiting for Christ at his the Second Coming. This season, which began yesterday, the First Sunday of Advent [30 November 2014], is the season when the Church marks a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the coming of Christ, not just as a cuddly child in Christmas crib, but his coming in glory and as king.

Throughout the next four weeks, our readings, collects, post-communion prayers and the other seasonal provisions in our liturgies try to focus us – yes on Christ’s incarnation, but more particularly (if less successfully) to focus us – on Christ’s coming judgment and reign.

Because of that, the “Four Last Things” – Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell – have been traditional themes for Advent meditation. The characteristic emphasis in Advent, therefore, is expectation, rather than penitence.

Purple is not a penitential colour … it is a rich, royal imperial colour, originally derived from a very rare source.  […]  So, we change our liturgical colour in Advent to purple to signify we are preparing for the coming of Christ as the King of Kings, the ruler of all, in all his royal, imperial, majesty, splendour and glory.

The whole entry is here.  There is a WEALTH of information on the history and symbolism of Advent Calendars, Advent wreaths, Jesse Trees, etc.

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