Advent

Advent is the season of the Church calendar that begins 4 Sundays before Christmas (November 29th this year). It is a time of active waiting and longing for Jesus to come and establish God’s Kingdom in our lives and world.

As with most everything in 2020, Advent and Christmas will be more at home than out-and-about at parties and church gatherings, but we can still mark it -- and look for it to mark us -- together. Each Sunday in Advent, The River will provide a simple liturgy to use throughout the week individually or in households, centered around the lighting of the Advent wreath. So, in preparation for Advent and the spiritual practice of these liturgies, we encourage you to put together an Advent wreath for your space at home. 

You can keep it super simple...or you can go all out. You can piece together something from whatever you have on hand, or you can purchase one online. There are plenty of DIY instructions out there for making your own personalized Advent wreath! Do what works for you, but do prepare. This year of all years we need to see again the light of Jesus that shines in the darkness, and the Advent wreath with its light which grows week-by-week can be a window through which to look.

>> Advent Week 1 (Hope) Liturgy to use at Home [download pdf here]

This liturgy can be done alone, with friends over Zoom, or as a household/family unit. If you share it with others, be sure to include everyone (including both the youngest and the oldest among you!) in the process. It could easily be used to start or end your day. It could be part of a dinnertime routine. As always, do as you can -- with freedom -- and enjoy!

Read: the Scripture for the day from your Advent Link Chain (same version as the one Kids' Community families received  in the mail.)

Light: the 1st candle in your wreath, the Candle of Hope…

And Pray:

To the One who gives us Hope,
Thank you for inviting us to the time of waiting.
Help us to:
         open our eyes so we can see your light,
         open our ears so we can hear your words of hope,
         open our minds so we can understand you,
        open our hearts so we can receive your love.
Come, long expected Jesus, we are waiting for you!   
Amen.

Play: Song of the week - Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus

Reflect:
Pick 1 or 2 each day...or stay with the one(s) you like most!

  • Describe a time today when you felt hopeful...or if not today, tell a story of a time in your life when you were hopeful…
  • How does today’s scripture passage encourage you to hope?
  • What are you hoping for? Consider this question on multiple levels...Immediate hopes to global hopes. Tangible hopes to soul hopes.
  • How does it feel for you to hope these days? Does anything make it hard to hope?
  • What would help you to hope more?
Additional Resources:

Illustrated Advent Wreath (pdf)

Advent wreath recommendations we found online

Idea 1

Idea 2

Idea 3