Hello! We are THRILLED you are participating in Advent this year, especially using Anticipation. We have prayerfully crafted these resources, and it is our hope that as you engage with these artistic and thoughtful exercises, that your spirit will be encouraged and shaped by the Holy Spirit as we celebrate the birth of Christ and anticipate his Second Coming!
We highly encourage you to do these together as a family or household. If you live with children or people for whom this is all new information, do not shy away from a beautiful opportunity to teach them about Jesus and bring them along on the journey. You might have to answer a few more questions along the way, but your experience and home will be richer for it.
These resources are designed to be “evergreen” – to be usable year after year regardless of when the season of Advent starts. Simply print as provided, regardless of the year. During the last week of Advent, read 1-2 “days” each day through the rest of Week 4 through to Christmas Eve to get back on track with the days of Christmas.
Each day of the week is similarly structured. This pattern continues through the days of Christmas, even though you will start reading by “date” rather than by “day of the week.”
SUNDAYS, plus 12/24 and 12/31
Hope, Peace, Joy, Love, and Light are the five traditional themes of Advent that form the backbone of the Anticipation resource. Each Sunday we will examine one of these key themes in greater detail.
MONDAYS, plus 12/25 and 1/1
Within this devotional are six spiritual disciplines that we believe accompany the season of Advent. These disciplines are not just ideas or theories, but are disciplines practiced by Jesus. Participating in these disciplines is a means of grace, but not the requirement for grace. Spiritual disciplines are simply the practice that invite the Holy Spirit to work inside of us.
I (Justine) used to love playing in the sand on the beach. I loved the difference between the loose sand and the wet sand, and how you could actually build little castles and villages–equipped with rivers and motes that came and went with the artificial tides made by speed boats. Spiritual Disciplines are like carving out spaces in our lives for the timing and tides of the Holy Spirit to work inside of us.
These disciplines take effort, and if this is your first time participating in a spiritual discipline, be patient with yourself, because God is patient with us. Some of the practical application methods may be more challenging than others. Choose the one that will stretch you, and allow the Holy Spirit to guide as you select. May the Holy Spirit work inside of us as we take part in these practices!
TUESDAYS, plus 12/26 and 1/2
Luke 1 and 2 tell the story of Christ’s birth, as well as some key moments in major characters surrounding the birth of Jesus. On Tuesdays, we will dig deep into guided inductive Bible study of these chapters, with cross-references to Old Testament and New Testament connecting passages. Grab a Bible or a printout of the scriptures, as well as a journal and a pen and be prepared to dig deeper into these passages, looking for connections and reflecting on what is shared in these stories.
WEDNESDAYS, plus 12/27 and 1/3
Wednesdays usher a deep breath of artistic and creative pause. We will be prompted to create and play mid-week to bring a fresh perspective to our experiences in Advent and Christmas. Be sure to set aside some time to fully engage in these activities – even if it’s outside your comfort zone!
THURSDAYS, plus 12/28 and 1/4
Guest writers from our church (Brookhaven Wesleyan Church, Marion, IN) help us explore some deeper theological ideas wrapped up in the Advent and Christmas characters and their narratives.
FRIDAYS, plus 12/29 and 1/5
Journal reflection questions will guide us to think deeply about what we are encountering and process how God is encountering us.
SATURDAYS, plus 12/30 and 1/6
On Saturdays we take a break to create with MAKES and BUILDS – making recipes throughout the seasons to build toward the feast of Christmas and also building and assembling a Nativity with items you have around your home. In your kit, recipes will be provided (with some Midwest flair!). You also have a printout of the labels for the Nativity characters and animals – each week of the season is bunched together on the same half of a page (exception: weeks 3-5 share a page).
CALENDAR, SONGS, & RESOURCES
Finally, in the Calendar are suggested songs for the seasons. These can be for worship planning or for personal use in your home. Include them in your study to increase the depth of this time.
It is our hope and prayer that the Spirit of God will meet you in Anticipation this Advent season.
Blessings on you this Advent!
Rev. Emily Hines
Pastor Yechan Son
Shea Brown, Editor