Greetings Practice Tribe!
Tomorrow marks the beginning of the global church’s historic four week practice of Advent – the season of the church calendar in which we anticipate the coming of the Messiah and pause to remember that through what took place in Christ’s incarnation – God is with us.
When it comes to the church calendar, for most of us, Advent is the part we’re most familiar with. Some of you, like me, may have grown up with chocolate Advent calendars, counting down the days to Christmas in anticipation of Jesus’ birth by trying not to eat all 25 chocolates on day one… Some of you may have engaged in Advent reading plans or practices to build in anticipation and align with this historic story through scripture readings, lighting candles, special worship services, or serving projects. And for some of you, Advent may feel completely foreign and new – the four weeks leading up to Christmas feeling disconnected from the day itself, overwhelmed by shopping, family, and travel.
However you may have engaged Advent in the past, we hope that you will join with us in our Advent Practice this year as we align with the Church Calendar over the next four weeks in the hope that every heart would prepare room for our Messiah, Jesus Christ.
This Advent season, The Practice will be exploring the theme, “Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room.” Because ultimately – this is what Advent is all about, a time to anticipate and prepare for the coming of Christ! We can’t wait for you to see what we have in store for you all on December 6 & 13 – but because Sunday is not the main event we are also excited to point you to he following resources to aid you in your practice of Advent every day this season.
There is a wide variety of reading plans, music, books and movements to connect you to – so our team narrowed it down to our favorites. Please find below our top 5 Advent daily devotionals (most are free!), recommended books, blogs, and websites to check out as you prepare room in your heart for Christ.
Jenna & The Practice Team
Sign up for or visit The Center for Christianity, Culture and the Arts’ daily popular Advent Project, an online resource with scripture, devotionals, art, video, and music — as we remember the mystery of the incarnation and the Word made flesh.
You can sign up to receive their daily e-mails on their website or by clicking here.
Who is it for?
We recommend this devotional for the artists among us who come alive through engagement with the visual arts and a variety of music. This devotional is also wonderful for those of you who learn best through a variety of voices and mediums.
by Ruth Haley Barton & The Transforming Center
This beautiful 16 page booklet with antique engravings is designed to help congregations, small groups, spiritual friends, and individuals walk through the four Sundays of Advent together. A perfect tool to introduce people to the practice of following the lectionary through the seasons of the Church year, this book contains Scripture references for each Sunday of Advent through Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (based on the Revised Common Lectionary, Cycle C), a guided meditation, questions for reflection, and a prayer that draws the reader into the themes of Advent. Questions can be used for group discussion or personal reflection.
Who is it for?
We recommend this devotional for those of you seeking to align closer with the practice of reading along with the lectionary through the Church Calendar – and for any of you who enjoy the wonderful work and writings of Ruth Haley Barton.
A longer reflection entitled “Training in Waiting” provides instruction on the purpose and value of engaging the season of Advent for spiritual transformation along with practical instructions on how to make the most of this resource.
“Advent calls us to delayed gratification, a season of holy longing as we anticipate something/one better. So may we learn to wait on the Lord, with joyous expectation.”
A.J. and his church TGC Chelsea have created a beautiful and free Advent Devotional pdf. you can download and work through this Advent season. They invite you to take part in three formative spiritual practices as we wait upon the Christmas light together. Even as we disperse from Sundays, we join each other in Spirit throughout the week, united in these shared traditions:
• The reading of Scripture (via Daily Office)
• Journaling what God is revealing
• Prayer through the themes of advent
Who is this for?
This devotional is theologically rich and will appeal to those among us who love to journal and read from Church Fathers, Reformers and great writers of Church History.
by She Reads Truth
She Reads Truth started as a small group of strangers on the internet who wanted to be more intentional about reading God’s Word. What began as a casual conversation is now an entire community of women all over the world in pursuit of Jesus. Their mission is to invite the already-reached to reach for their Bibles—every day.
In Part I (weeks 1-3), you will learn how Jesus is the true Hero of the Old Testament—the true & better Adam, the true & better Joseph, the true & better manna, and so much more. Every story points to the birth of our King!
In Part II (week 4), you will read the Christmas narrative, viewing each part of the story through the lens of God’s Story—the redemption of His people through Jesus Christ, the Promised One, Immanuel, Messiah, King.
Who is it for?
Whilst She Reads Truth is a Bible Study/Devotional Ministry geared towards women, their content is beautifully designed and engaging for all. This devotional is great for the tech savvy among you who would like to download their app and read along with their devotional each day from your smart device.
- Why The Church Calendar Matters by AJ Sherill
- Secular or Sacred Time? by Brian Zahnd
- Living The Christian Year by Bobby Gross
- Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality through the Christian Year by Robert. E. Webber