November note from Dri: Preparing for Advent

I don’t want to alarm anyone, but there are only four more weeks left this year!

Well, the Christian liturgical year anyway. For the past few months the liturgical calendar has been sitting in the large green span between Pentecost and Advent. It’s green to symbolize the growing time between the “high holy days” as Godly Play calls them. It’s called “ordinary time” or “ordinary tide” because this is the part where we practice and live out the faith that Advent and Easter form in us. And they mark the end of the Christian year. It’s not January 1 that marks the beginning of the Christian year, but rather the first week of Advent! It’s a shifting of the calendar to prioritize the life and work of Jesus Christ. 

Image borrowed from Lake Shore Baptist Church

Advent is the anticipation of the coming Messiah, the Savior of the World, the one who would rescue us from our sin and the devastation of the fall. The fullness of God, wrapped in flesh, in the person of Jesus who was born as a helpless baby to take on the fullness of humanity and redeem it. Advent begins this year on December 3rd and will cover the four weeks leading up to Christmas. Since Christmas is on a Monday, the 4th and final week of Advent falls on Christmas Eve. While our current season is all about the ordinariness of the daily discipline of following Christ, Advent is a season of preparation. It’s not just about the “holiday season” that we typically thing about in Western and American culture, but preparing our hearts for Christ’s birth and the Christmas season that stretches for 12 full days after December 25th. 

It’s the perfect time to be intentional about our family discipleship because it’s different from the normal. You may already have special advent traditions or rhythms, or you may be ready to start some new ones, but in the these last few green weeks, I would encourage you to consider what practices you can include in your family to disciple one another in preparation for Christmas. At the start of Advent, we will be providing a devotional booklet for the season with prayers, hymns, art, and family activities to try. Keep an eye out for that coming soon!

The Gospel Coalition also has a wonderful and free resource about how to create your own intentional family discipleship. It’s not a parenting book, per se, but a tool to help you think strategically about how to disciple your children regardless of how young or how old they are, and how you can incorporate discipleship into your ordinary life and special milestones. You can check out Family Discipleship: Leading Your Home through Time, Moments, and Milestones by Matt Chandler and Adam Griffin here. Read it with your spouse, or your support team, or even with your older kids and create a plan for Advent.