Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Voice Crying in the Wilderness Pt. 7

Discovering Advent

Prepare the Way
“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken.” Isaiah 40:3-5

Growing up, I never heard of Advent. Later I attended a church that used an Advent wreath. On each of the four Sundays before Christmas, a family would stand around the wreath, light a candle, and read a short passage of Scripture about Christ’s coming. I thought we should try this -- a celebration focused on Christ. I found directions for making an Advent wreath here. I looked for the readings and found that there were not only readings for each Sunday, but for every day of Advent.

Each day has an Old Testament prophecy about the coming Messiah, a Messianic Psalm, a reading from the Gospels about preparing for His coming, and a reading from the Epistles related to one or more of the other readings. Many of the readings are about repentance. I read that purple was the traditional color of Advent and Lent, and represented repentance, so my wife made a purple tablecloth.

Each morning after breakfast, we cleared the table, put on the purple tablecloth and advent wreath, lit the appropriate candles, and took turns reading. The effect was remarkable. Nothing gets boys’ attention like fire. I thought the readings might be too long for them, but they sat and listened with very little fidgeting, and even began asking intelligent questions. As the weeks progressed, the feelings of anxious hurry were replaced by feelings of calm and happy expectation. In church on Sundays, we listened more attentively because we were prepared.

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