Advent Calendar 2015

Advent is the time in the church calendar when we wait for the coming of the Christ child. It is marked by the observation of the four Sundays prior to Christmas Day. Each Sunday of Advent the church observes a different theme of this journey: hope, peace, love and joy. Candles are lit as the light of the world (Christ) is drawing closer to us.

During this time, we are called not to run to the manger but to wait… that’s right…. wait… for Christmas. Sure some people have decorated their entire house on November 1 but Advent calls us to slow down, be more reflective and wait. It is through this intentionality that we begin to see and experience the message of hope, peace, love and joy in our own lives and the world around us

There is something freeing, however, in slowing down. We are able to take in all that is around us and see how God is moving in our lives in ways that we would have looked right over had we not taken a moment to be reflective and aware.

How are we using this time of Advent to prepare and to wait? Are we rushing from store to store buying mountains of gifts, trying to equate our love for someone by how big the price tag is?

Don’t we want Christmas to be something more than lights, too much food, elves on the shelf and Santa? Why can’t this time of Advent propel us into a deeper sense of the Divine around us and with us? Where are the places God is leading us to? These are the thoughts that we take with us during this journey to the manger.

Use this calendar each day of Advent to prepare yourself for the coming of Jesus into the world.

Each day has a scripture and something to pray for or to reflect on. Let us journey to together to find the Christ-child, the source of all hope, peace, joy and love this Advent.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

 

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Advent Calendar 2015 PDF

Advent Calendar 2015 word


Creative Commons LicenseAdvent Calendar 2015 by Rev. Evan M. Dolive, M.Div. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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Missing Christmas?

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The final countdown has begun.

If you have children under the age of 7 you have known since Thanksgiving the number of days until Christmas Day.

So in the immortal words of “hide and seek,” ready or not here Christmas comes.

Gifts have been purchased, trees have been trimmed, lights have strung, travel plans have been made, and stockings have been hung with care.  We have been bombarded with Christmas carols since October and the news has been reporting on the “holiday shopping season” since “Black Friday.”

During this time we can start to fall into the trap of “Christmas as usual.”  Whether we know it or not we are creatures of habit and not just in our personal life liking having coffee in the morning or eating the same breakfast.

We can find these habits in our religious life as well.

Christmas for many people has become somewhat routine.

We know what to do, what to say, where to go, what to bring, what to cook and where to eat it.  It’s all mapped out; just follow the same the routine.   Christmas cannot just be something that is done in a secular fashion that is boiled down to shopping and pretty bows.

It’s easy to get caught up in the cycle of Christmas.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good tradition but has Christmas become something that just happens instead of something we experience?

At my work I have been asked more than a dozen times this week if I am “ready for Christmas.” (what they are really asking is “are your children excited for Santa?”)

It’s a hard question to answer.  Sure I am ready to be off for a few days and see my family but am I really ready for Christmas?  Am I really ready for the coming of Christ into the world?

Can the in breaking of God into the world be celebrated simply singing carols and eating too much?

Has Christmas become just another day to, relax, eat good food and visit family or can it be something more?  As Christians we believe we have good grasp on Christmas; we have seen it played out in church pageants, recited the story in worship, we set up our Nativity Scene and even make a point to watch  A Charlie Brown Christmas.

It’s a familiar story and one that brings back great memories of family, gatherings and friends.

What would Christmas look like or feel like we were truly prepared ourselves to encounter Christ?  Forget about the gifts, the holiday ham and the miles to travel, but made the goal to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord. Would it mean more? Would we “get more out of it?”

Amid the sea of lights, packages, shopping carts and mad dashes to get everything done, have be lost sight of Christmas?

On December 26 will we be thankful that Christmas is over or thankful that we encountered Christ anew?  The story of the birth of Jesus is not a small piece of trivial history rather it is a monumental, deeply profound and theological statement; the God of all of creation came in human form and dwelt among us.  Because of this, the world, our lives will never be the same.  This story is something that cannot be encapsulated in gift bag or even in a song.

It’s sad to think that we can miss Christmas because we are celebrating Christmas… seems counterproductive right?

My prayer for you this Christmas is that December 25 will be more than just another Thursday, but a time when the story of the incarnation of Christ is made more real and tangible for you and your loved ones.

I hope that there is a moment where the world full of darkness, greed, injustice and hate would be replaced with the stillness and serenity of the Christmas story.  We need these moments; we need these moments where things are calm and bright.

Maybe it will be eating with distant relatives, hearing stories from parents/grandparent’s childhood, maybe it will be seen the excitement of children on Christmas morning, maybe it will be hearing the Christmas story with a new/renewed ears, maybe it will be visiting the cemetery of a loved one.

Whatever it is, may it be a moment that is undeniable that God is present and invading that time.  Hold on it, do not let the world take it away from you.

We all need a touch of grace, a touch of love and touch of mercy every now and then, so why not during Christmas?

Let’s not miss Christmas this Christmas.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan


Photo Credit: “The twinkling of the lights, the santa carols fill the household” by Katherine M. via Flickr. Used under the Creative Commons License 2.0

Advent: Hope

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The Candle of Hope

Come surely, Lord Jesus, as dawn follows night,our hearts long to greet you, as roses, the light.
Salvation, draw near us, our vision engage.
One candle is lit for the hope of the age.


Mary Anne Parrott, 1988, © 1995 Chalice Press
(from Chalice Hymnal, no. 128). All Rights Reserved.
Photo Credit: “010” by Joe O’Meara via Flickr. Used Under the Creative Commons 2.0 License.

Advent 2014

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Advent is here.
Advent is the time in the church calendar when we wait for the coming of the Christ child. It is marked by the observation of the four Sundays prior to Christmas Day. Each Sunday of Advent the church observed a different theme of this journey: hope, peace, love and joy. Candles are lit as the light of the world (Christ) is drawing closer to us.
During this time we are called not to run to the manger but to wait… that’s right…. wait… for Christmas.

Waiting can be difficult in our ultra high paced society. We do not like long lines, emails or voice messages. Waiting for so called ‘fast food’ can send our blood to boil. What do you mean I have to wait? Well how long will it be… I expect to have my burger or chicken or whatever ready and at the appropriate temperatures when I cross the threshold of the door!
We want to get straight to the point as quickly as possible. This is why Twitter is so popular; Twitter forces you to construct your thoughts in 140 characters or less. Tell me what you want and move on.

We are a society on the move and for many of us we are practically sprinting. We cannot stop, we cannot slow down and we need to get more done today so we can repeat the dizzying process tomorrow.
Sure we take time to slow down but usually its because our bodies give out on us or we are “strongly encouraged” by our loved ones to relax and take some time for ourselves.

There is something freeing in slowing down. We are able to take in all that is around us and see how God is moving in our lives in ways that we would have looked right over had we not taken a moment to be reflective.

How are we using this time of Advent to prepare and to wait? Are we rushing for store to store buying mountains of gifts, trying to equate our love for someone by how big the price tag is?

How are we using this time of Advent to wait and to be reflective about what the coming of the Christ child means not only for the world or for the church but for us as followers of Christ? Don’t we want Christmas to be something more than pretty lights, too much food, elf on the shelf and Santa? Cant this time of Advent propel us into a deeper sense of the Divine around us and with us?

These are the thoughts that we take with us during this during to the manger… we aren’t there let but we know where we are going.

Below is a video that will explain Advent in about 2 minutes.  I hope and pray that this Advent is not filled with stress but with hope and expectation of God coming to Earth as a baby.

There are several devotional books available online to further your Advent experience.

 

May you encounter Christ’s hope, peace, love and joy this Advent season.

In Christ,

 

Rev. Evan

 


Photo Credit: “Advent candles” by Markus Grossalber via Flickr. Used under the Creative Commons License 2.0.

EDIT: 12/3/14– grammar and additions

Advent In Two Minutes

For some, Advent may be a new concept.

Below is a good summation of Advent.

Enjoy!

In Christ,

Rev. Evan


Source

We Were Made For This… Advent 2012

A row of tea candlesAdvent has led us to this moment; we are expectantly waiting the coming of the Christ Child. Our hearts and souls are filled with hope, peace, love and joy. Advent sets us on a trajectory toward the moment when we will encounter Christ a new. May we continue this journey not only during the season of Advent, but for the rest of our lives. The story of Christmas can not be contained into four, one hour long church services. The message is greater than that.

Throughout our lives we seek something greater than ourselves.  We seek something that gives us completeness and wholeness.  The message of Advent is that there is something worth waiting for; not just during December but for the rest of our lives.  Darkness will be overcome, light will shine bright, hope will be restored, joy will fill our hearts, love will abound for all and peace will finally reign on Earth.

The Advent message is one that calls to wait and watch for the coming of Christ in our midst, for the coming of the Savior born to a unwed teenage mother 2000+ years ago.  Wrapped up in those bans of cloth was a promise of life a new.

May we remember the message of Advent and the call of Christ to remember and reflect the love of Christ.

The power of God is felt and known more deeply when we wait for the coming of Christ and the hope we have in his coming.   Darkness to light, chaos to peace, exclusivity to inclusivity, an outcast to the God bearer– All because of the indwelling of God; the movement of God, the incarnation in a baby born to a unwed teenage mother with zero status socially.

We were made for this… we were made for something greater than ourselves

“My soul magnifies the Lord My spirit rejoices in God my savior.”- Luke 1:46

In Christ,

Rev. Evan


(“A Row Of Tea Candles” available under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0 at http://www.flickr.com/photos/tschiae/8213244223/)

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Think about Christmas differently this year! Turn your Christmas upside down!