A Guide to Advent
Yes, it’s more than chocolates in a calendar! Advent is a season that has been used for centuries to help people slow down, focus on what’s important, and prepare their hearts for the true meaning of Christmas.
For all who have interest, VOA Colorado would like to gift you an Advent Guide this year. It was written by Dave Meserve, a long time Denver minister who is part of a VOA grant we are using to activate ministry and outreach. The guide offers a devotional reading for each week focusing on the birth of Jesus from the Bible story. It is written around a theme: Sacred Places. Each week will take you into a different location from the story (Bethlehem, Jerusalem…) followed by questions and reflections to help you see these places as metaphors for your life today.
To reserve your guide, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and location. If you need one mailed, please include your address. Dave will also be posting a short video each week to help you engage the theme. Here is his introduction to Advent:
A little about the season of Advent
The Advent tradition originated in the early centuries as a way to prepare for The Feast of the Nativity (Christmas). The Church likes a seasonal approach to honor their holy days: Easter has Lent and Christmas has Advent. It is based on the idea that preparation makes the holy day more meaningful and so the journey becomes important. That’s what Advent is — a spiritual journey to prepare us for the arrival (the meaning of the word advent) of Christ.
As the word spiritual comes from the idea of “catching one’s breath,” Advent offers a short season - the four Sundays leading up to Christmas - to catch our breath in several ways. First, we are invited to slow down. That’s important as this is often the busiest time of the year! At least once a week in Advent we stop frantic activities and breathe in the season!
Second, Advent focuses our attention on something holy and good: the birth story of Jesus. When life keeps asking us to spend and consume and be scattered in a hundred directions, Advent pulls us back and asks us to reflect on the baby Jesus and why he came. You don’t need any background in the church to enjoy learning and exploring this story.
Third, Advent guides us to seek the light. One ancient prophecy about the coming of the Jesus is a central Advent text: The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. (Isaiah 9:2) Regardless of your faith background, Advent is a chance to be curious about the one who said, “I am the light of the world.”
We end with the well known hymn, “Joy to the World,” which captures the essence of Advent so beautifully:
Joy to the world, the Lord has come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
Advent begins Sunday, November 29th.
people received Volunteers of America services in Colorado last year