The Advent Project

Adventheader

Why Advent?

If you’re anything like me, the Christmas season is one of the busiest of the year. Most years, I’m surprised when Christmas arrives and surprised that it goes away so quickly, and I find myself not having given much thought to the actual meaning behind the holiday. One thing that has always intrigued me is the celebration of Advent, a four-week season in the Church calendar that celebrates the birth of Christ.

I grew up in a church tradition that didn’t celebrate Advent, so it has always seemed foreign and interesting to me. Advent, as it turns out, is a really important part of the Christian year. In fact, it is the beginning of the church calendar, our new-years of sorts. The Latin word adventus means “coming,” and the objective of Advent is to both remember Christ’s coming as a baby, and look forward to the day when He will return.

This year, I wanted to try and find a way to celebrate this season in an intentional way, and invited our North Point worship leaders and musicians to join me in this journey. It is a “Christmas experiment,” of sorts, and hopefully we will all learn a lot along the way. There are many different ways to celebrate Advent, but what I’m suggesting for this year is to follow along with the prayers and scriptures of the Book of Common Prayer.

For those of you who didn’t grow up Anglican (most of us, I’m sure), the Book of Common Prayer is used by Christians around the globe as a guide for daily and weekly prayer and scripture reading. Included inside this 450 year-old book are prayers for the Daily Office, basically a devotional guide for morning and evening prayer. If you’ve never read written prayers before, think of it as a guide, a collection of prayers and scriptures that will help focus your mind on something that you may not have thought of on your own. One thing I love about following along with the BCP is that we will be praying with thousands upon thousands of people around the world, all praying the same words each day. When you finish your prayer, someone else will be beginning theirs, and these phrases will be prayed literally 24-hours a day across the globe.

So, where do we begin? If you’d like to jump in with us, here’s what you’ll need to do:

1. Morning Prayer – Plan on spending 10-15 minutes per day reading, praying or listening to the day’s Morning Prayer. There’s several ways to do this, just choose one that fits you best:

  • Download the Morning Prayers, print them out and read along each day. You can find the full list of prayers by clicking here.
  • Subscribe to the blog and receive each morning’s video and a link to the daily prayer each day. You can subscribe by clicking here.
  • Visit the blog each day and listen to the Morning Prayer video. Each day, someone will be posting a video, reading and guiding us through the prayer. The videos are 10-15 minutes long, and you could listen to them in your car each morning or during your morning workout.

Whether you want to wake up and read/pray/journal, or if you’d just like to listen along in your car, choose what works best for you and follow along. Then, join us for a short evening prayer…

2. Evening Prayer – This prayer is meant to help us focus on Christ as we wrap up the day. It is designed to be shorter and simpler than the morning prayer, something you can do as you head to bed each night. Again, choose a method that works for you:

  • Read along with the evening prayer, located at the end of the Morning Prayer document. You can print it by clicking here. It is a simple prayer that is the same each night, so hopefully after a week or two you’ll be able to recite it by heart.
  • Pray the Daily Examen of St. Ignatius. This sounds complicated, but it’s actually a few simple steps, and it helps to reflect on your day and give thanks for all that has happened. Read the steps and find out more by clicking here.
  • Journal about your day. Spend a few minutes journaling what happened in your day, and give thanks to God for it.

Again, find a method that seems natural for you and try it out. What’s important is that you are remembering Christ throughout the day, not that you check the boxes and “pass the test.”

3. Share What’s Happening – Come back to the blog and share your thoughts. What is God teaching you? What questions do you have? What can the rest of the community pray for? Leave a comment and join the conversation.

4. Invite Your Friends – This idea began as something to help some of our musicians and worship leaders, but my hope is that other people who are interested would jump in and follow along as well. Feel free to spread the word, and let me know if you have any thoughts or ideas on how to improve this for the future.

That’s It! So if you can spare 15 minutes a day, jump on board and start reading & praying with us. Hopefully you’ll join us on this four-week journey, and I hope it enriches your Christmas this year.

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