Advent and the Church Calendar

One of the most peculiar things for me to subscribe to when I became Lutheran was the liturgy and the church calendar.  I’ve been in a liturgical church for five years  and I’m just now starting to really anticipate the rhythm and the meaning of it.  In some ways, it seems simple and straight forward but then it’s also rich, complex  and layered with the purpose of focusing on the gospel of Christ.   By following a set calendar and lectionary, the scriptures are covered in a systematic way, with the life and cross of Jesus at its’ center.

The time of Advent,  that begins today, is a time of prayerful, repentant and  joyous  waiting.

We wait for our Lord to come.

The waiting itself  implies our desperation.  We need Him so desperately to come to us.

We sit in the darkness of our sin with no hope of saving ourselves.

He must come to us for we are unable and unwilling to come to Him.

But the waiting is also joyous.   We  anticipate the coming of our Lord as He comes to us in our past, present and future.

He has come, in His very incarnation, as the tiny baby in the manger, eager to grow in the nurture and will of His Father.

He comes to us today, in the Word and Sacraments, as He feeds us on Himself, the very Bread of life, forgiving us our sins and giving us hope and salvation.

He will come again, on the last day, to take His bride home to heaven.

The season of Advent teaches us to wait, to yearn, to remember what it was like to live in darkness and to remember that we are helpless on our own.

We are desperate for the One who comes.

We pray:

Gracious Lord and Savior,

Come to us today and  meet us in our need.

Come to us in love and forgiveness as we confess before You our utter hopelessness.

Come to us with Your abundant mercy and love, which we neither deserve nor can merit.

Come and do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

We wait.   We hope.   We bring our sin and brokenness.   We wait for Life.

We wait for You to come.

You alone part the Red Sea and drown our sins in the waters of Holy Baptism.

You alone make manna fall from heaven and feed us life-giving Bread.

You alone speak life-giving Words of mercy.

Come to us today.   For You alone we wait.

Come, Lord Jesus.

This year, due to space limitations, our Jesse Tree is made of ribbons, to which we will add our ornaments daily as we read the corresponding Old Testament stories corresponding to those ‘ancestors’ in Christ’s family tree (Ann Voskamps’ Jesse Tree Journey contains printable ornaments).     We light one candle of our Advent wreath for each Sunday in Advent and then light our  Christ Candle on Christmas Eve.

our Jesse Tree and Advent wreath

Last year, I used this Jesse Tree Book, which was perfect for the ages of my girls.   But I wanted something with more depth this year, something like the iphone app I found last year, which is a wonderful collection of readings, prayers, hymns and sacred artwork.   Pastor Scott Ryll is the author/compiler of this wonderful resource, which I posted about last year.    I’ve printed it  and plan to use it along with Ann Voskamp’s  wonderful {and free} pdf file of the Jesse Tree Journey.   Thank you sweet Ann, for your gift to us.   I’ve printed these two resources and will compile them into a notebook to use year after year.

If you are new to the liturgical calendar, this Issues, Etc podcast is incredibly helpful.    For more information on Advent, you’ll find this podcast helpful.

Reading for the first Sunday in Advent from the Advent blog.  Church calendar can be purchased here.

Blessed Advent to you all.

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24 Comments

  • Amy Avery says:

    Oh Edie, how beautiful! Thank you for sharing this! I too attend a church (Episcopal) that follows the liturgical calendar. Advent is such an amazing time as we wait in darkness for the coming of our light and Savior Jesus Christ! As I taught our church’s Kid’s Worship this morning I felt so humbled by the awesome responsibility I had in teaching these young children about our church’s traditions and how we wait for the coming of our Savior. I appreciate your sharing of your resources for the Jesse tree and Advent calendar. God Bless you Miss Edie! I have been blessed through finding your blog!

  • Southern Gal says:

    Powerful words.

    I was wondering how I would fit a Jesse tree in our home this year. You have the perfect solution. Whodathunkit? A ribbon tree. Good job. I, too, posted about Ann’s e-book. It’s a fabulous tool for advent.

  • ulli says:

    As we wait and prepare for our Lord with great anticipation, may your heart be always singing. Blessings to you and yours this Advent Season.

  • Kimsetser says:

    Hi, Edie. Curious – which iPhone app did you use?

  • Maclark30 says:

    Thanks for these great links, Edie. My church doesn’t follow a calendar and I think we miss out on the rhythm of these days. Advent is such a wonderful time – I am struggling a bit with my faith just now and hoping to re-connect with God (who I know is waiting…) through a disciplined meditation each day. these links will help with that !!

  • KTG says:

    I’m a mom of two, new to staying home full time.I found your blog from Whatever.Your words have come along when I needed them most.You truly write about what matters Lord bless you and Blessed Advent!

  • Angela says:

    Hello my friend. Just watched the video from last year of your babies singing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”
    It was so beautiful. Then I watched some of The Verify. Do they have CD’s? Your song has an awesome voice.

  • Lori Pollard says:

    Good morning! Love your site. Do you know where I can get a copy of the liturgical calendar at top of page? Thanks!

  • anna says:

    Oh how beautiful! What a delight to discover your work and see what a sacred time and space you create with your family. Thank you!

  • Julia says:

    Your ribbons put my cut-up paper bag taped to the wall look pretty humble! Yay for you for Advent.

  • I grew up as the daughter of a Lutheran pastor and a Lutheran school teacher and now I’m a Lutheran school teacher myself. All things considered, even though I grew up with the wonderful tradition of waiting, I never quite understood why my Dad made us wait to put up the CHRISTmas tree, for example. Now that I’m older, I can recognize the good of waiting. As we celebrate the Advent waiting with you, I’ll be singing, “Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel!”

  • Marta says:

    Thank your for the beautiful prayer. It is humbling, this Christmas season…thank you. Also, could you discuss more about the Advent Wreath? What a beautiful tradition … and how healing, the marking of time, the rhythm that God has bestowed into His entire creation. – Marta

  • Karrie Ann says:

    Thank you, Edie! Where did you get your beautiful advent wreath?
    God Bless You,
    Karrie

  • Christina says:

    I would love to know where to get an Advent Calendar like the picture in your post. It is beautiful and would be great for my Sunday School. I’ve used a printable I found online here:
    http://www.sundayschoolkids.com/activities/1-liturgical-poster-instru.htm
    but what you have is so much cooler and permenant. Are you able to change out the dates? Or is the whole thing purchased each year?
    Thank you,
    Christina
    http://www.smartmommyshopping.com

  • Desiree says:

    I love your kitchen, and want to know how you did the cabinets, what paint you used, and steps. We are in the middle of a remodel and are trying to do the cabinets ourselves white but people keep telling us it won’t look good. For some reason your post on the kitchen remodel won’t come up on my computer, it has a glitch so sorry if you have already explained all of that. I just saw some pictures of your kitchen on another blog.

    • if you click on the kitchen from my sidebar and not through the
      ‘renovations’ tab i think it should work….
      let me know if not.
      all the sources are listed there.
      blessings,
      edie

  • Nichole says:

    Do you know of a good Advent book for preschoolers? I would love to get one for my daughter. Thanks! I love your blog! :)

  • Mssmartiepants says:

    Where did you get this calendar? I am a Methodist and we follow a liturgical calendar as well. I have never seen this kind of calendar, just love it.

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