The Advent season is here! In light of this, let us consider how we shall celebrate as a church. Let this season be a time focused on the anticipation and hope that we all can have in Christ, first in remembering His birth, and then looking forward to His return.
What is Advent and why do we celebrate it as the Renew family?
Advent is a preparatory season in the historical church calendar that focuses on the “coming” or “arrival” of Jesus, culminating in the celebration of Christmas (adventus is Latin for “coming”). The Bible doesn’t command that we celebrate Advent, but we your leaders believe that is it a helpful practice for the spiritual formation of our church. So we follow the rhythms of the Christian calendar during this season. Why?
“Christmas has become cozy.
Advent calls us to stay awake.”
1. Advent helps us align our December calendars with the Story of God.
Often we spend more time thinking about the demands of Christmas than the glory of Christ. Advent helps us use December as a time to reflect on Jesus’ gracious and radical intervention in the world — as opposed to the consumerism of our current culture. Through gathered worship (Sundays), our weekly rhythms, and family devotions/readings, Advent helps us worship Jesus – the God who humbly became a baby in order to establish His Kingdom and give Himself up for all of us so that we might have a restored life with God.
2. Advent stirs our longings for the second coming of Christ.
Even as we celebrate the incarnation of Jesus, advent reminds us that though Christ’s Kingdom is already present in the world (and in us!), it is also not yet fully realized. Thus, advent stirs our hearts to pray for Christ’s return, groan for the current brokenness of the world (and ourselves), and give ourselves more fully to participating in God’s redemptive purposes in the world.
3. Advent gives us a strategic opportunity to share the hope of Christ’s coming with our friends/family who aren’t yet connected to Jesus or the church.
Both as the church gathered (on Sundays) and the church scattered (throughout the week), Christmas/Advent affords us a great opportunity to share the Gospel. Many of our friends/family who aren’t connected to Jesus will consider coming to church and talking about Jesus during the holidays. We want to capitalize on this God-given opportunity for the glory of Jesus and the good of our loved ones.
Advent season features:
- Weekly emphasis on a key biblical theme of Advent: Peace, Hope, Joy, Love
- Accompanying animated word study video new from The Bible Project (3-5 min) whether in the gathering or posted later online
- Creative ways to ‘Celebrate the Truth’ with joy and intention as we go through this whole season, as shared in the Renew women’s disciple-making group 11/15
- Rehearsing the Story of God by repeating and memorizing lines from the Advent Catechism
- Sunday mornings 10 AM worship gatherings (Nov. 26 — Dec. 31), with some highlights:
- 11/26 Sunday all-church whole family gathering (to begin Advent)
- 12/17 Renew Kids Christmas Story presentation
- 12/24 Christmas Eve all-church whole family gathering (Sunday morning, 10 AM)
- 12/31 complete Advent season