Saturday, November 29, 2008

Preparing for Advent

As a child, I was a bit perplexed by the song "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." Its melody was lonely, and its words spoke of captivity, mourning, tyranny. In a season filled with bells and smiles and upbeat tunes, this one didn't quite fit. Just as there is a distinct difference between Christmas music (e.g., Joy to the World, Silent Night) and holiday music (e.g., Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, Winter Wonderland), there is also a distinct difference between Christmas music and Advent music. Christmas lyrics speak of a Savior who has already come; Advent lyrics anticipate his arrival.

Advent starts tomorrow. This is a Christian season of anticipation and preparation, stopping awhile to remember the many years before Jesus' birth -- years of waiting for the promise of a Messiah to be fulfilled. It is also a time to ponder more deeply that he'll come back.

Advent is a precious time. I don't want to skip mindlessly past and replace it with an early Christmas. With this in mind, I've been reading more about this season at CRIVoice, Advent Conspiracy, and even the West Texas District, and I look forward to this season. The best part will be to read through Advent passages throughout the upcoming weeks, realizing more deeply and more often the stunning reality of God's work throughout all of history, and especially in the promised Messiah.

Join me and let's walk thoughtfully -- mindfully -- through this season together. Here are Advent readings for the upcoming week:
  • November 30: Psalms 146-147 (morning); Psalms 111-113 (evening); Isaiah 1:1-9; 2 Peter 3:1-10; Matthew 25:1-13
  • December 1: Psalms 1-3 (morning); Psalms 4, 7 (evening); Isaiah 1:10-20; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, Luke 20:1-8
  • December 2: Psalms 5-6 (morning); Psalms 10-11 (evening); Isaiah 1:21-31; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Luke 20:9-18
  • December 3: Psalm 119:1-24 (morning); Psalms 12-14 (evening); Isaiah 2:1-11; 1 Thessalonians 2:13-20; Luke 20:19-26
  • December 4: Psalm 18:1-20 (morning); Psalm 18:21-50 (evening); Isaiah 2:12-22; 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13; Luke 20:27-40
  • December 5: Psalms 16-17 (morning); Psalm 22 (evening); Isaiah 3:8-15; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12; Luke 20:41-21:4
  • December 6: Psalms 20-21 (morning); Psalms 110, 116-117 (evening); Isaiah 4:2-6; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Luke 21:5-19

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