Next Sunday begins a new year – in the Christian Church, that is. It is the First Sunday of Advent and I’m beginning to prepare the Godly Play lesson I’ll be sharing at St. Matthew’s in Wilton – the Circle of the Church Year. It’s always a good reminder of where we have come and where we will continue to go. God’s love, like the Advent wreath, is circular, never-ending, and full of mystery.
As I write on my Prayer Book Guide to Christian Education website (based on my book with the same name), each time we journey through the church year we are different. Over time the seasons transform us. As we pass through each day, each season, the end of one journey positions us to step into the beginning of the next. The seasons of this calendar allow us to return again and again to the expectancy of Advent or the solemnity of Lent, to reconsider our lives and the way in which we are living them.
As our lectionary also changes with this new year, and we will begin Year C, concluding that three year cycle, with a focus on the Gospel of Luke. The semi-continuous Old Testament readings are of prophetic proclamation chosen in chronological order and highlighting Jeremiah. The New Testament readings are chosen mainly from Galatians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Timothy and 2 Thessalonians.
What is this season of Advent about? It’s not about shopping or getting ready for all the pro-bowl football games. It’s about preparing, yet again, to open our hearts to Christ.
Here are some resources to help you get ready:
- More about “Living the Season” of Advent from the Prayer Book Guide to Christian Education with some links
- Download my annual list of ideas and resources: Advent & Christmas 2015
- A great devotional book by Bud Holland that I was privileged to edit, Advent Presence: Kissed by the Past, Beckoned by the Future (Morehouse, 2015).
- A global advent calendar will again be offered by The Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. #AdventWord will offer online devotions of images and words. Subscribe and you will receive a message everyday to reflect upon.
- If you really need to get a head start on Christmas, check out the St. Nicholas Center to learn more about the traditions that have morphed into what we have today.
- Friend and colleague Brooke Packard has written a great song for learning – The Calendar Song for singing the season of the church year.