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advent guides

November 29, 2011

In Advent, we prepare to commemorate the Word becoming flesh. Over the last few years there have been some great Advent guides and worship songs published to help in this effort. I want to tell you about a couple of these.

First, our friends at Park Slope Presbyterian in Brooklyn have put together this helpful and thoughtful Advent guide. My wife and I went through it last year and plan to do the same this year. The following is an excerpt:

The four week season of Advent starts the new church year, preparing the people of God for the celebrations of Christmas and Epiphany. Advent means “coming” and its mood is that of longing, expectation and waiting. Appropriately during this time, the church remembers Jesus’ first coming and anticipates his coming again. This world is broken, and so we yearn for Jesus to come back as our King and to make completely all things new. The cry of Advent is the cry of those who have experienced the tyranny of injustice in a world under the curse of sin. And it is the cry from those who still have hope of deliverance because they believe in a God who hears the cries of the oppressed and delivers them.

Of course, Scripture reminds us that we need redemption from our broken world because we broke it! Advent calls us to prepare for Jesus’ return by repenting and believing. We are to turn away from the false hopes and desires that twist our hearts and destroy our relationships. Instead, we are to turn toward Jesus, who frees us so that we may serve one another in grace and truth. Just as John the Baptist was born to prepare the way for Jesus’ first coming, so we are given to each other in the community of the church to encourage each other and challenge the world around us to prepare for his coming again.

Second, our friends Curtis and Grace Romjue at Cross Sound Church on Bainbridge Island have published nine lessons and carols for Advent. If you choose to donate to this project, 100% of profits go to Arts Aftercare to bring “Beauty and Healing through the Arts” to survivors of modern slavery.

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