Welcome to the season of Advent! A time to sing, “come, Lord Jesus, come, and be born in our hearts today.” A time to embrace mystery; to become a child again.
“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free…, they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that he has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our father is younger than we.” - G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
The Christian Year - particularly seasons such as Advent-Christmas and Lent-Easter - provides wonderful opportunities to rekindle our relationship with God and his people, and especially to focus on the quality of our worship as a church, as families, as smaller communities within the church, and as individuals. We have prepared this guide for daily prayer with the the hope that this season will be a time of renewal for you as well, a time where each day you ask God to “do it again.”
ADVENT PRAYER GUIDE - STORIES FROM THE FIRST CHRISTMAS
When I was four years old, my dad opened the front door, and to my mom’s horror, I exclaimed, “dad, dad, dad – we got you the biggest, bluest, best-est Nike basketball shoes today.” My mom had given me a stern, but gracious warning earlier, “honey, this gift is a surprise for your daddy; we can’t say anything until Christmas morning.” “Okay,” I said, like three times, maybe four. But I completely forgot my promise the moment he walked through the door. I just couldn’t help myself. He simply had to know. I stood there in wonder. He was so much bigger than me. He wore a size twelve, and he was the best basketball player ever. Lost in my dad, not caring what anyone else thought – even my dear mother – I exploded with joy, with worship.
Reflect on this moment, because I think we all have them - mysterious moments when something happens, or someone happens, and all we can do is stand there in awe and give voice to our praise. Moments when the honor belongs to someone else, but we are more excited than if the honor belonged to us. Moments when we find ourselves spilling over with emotion, saying inside and maybe even out loud, “this is what life is all about.” All of a sudden, you realize there’s so much more going on – it’s something mysterious, someone greater.
The season of Advent gives us an opportunity for moments like these. Moments you long for, moments that have a way of defining things. Mysterious moments when you come into God’s presence, or rather, his presence comes into you, and you receive grace to experience something greater, something mysterious, again more of a someone than a something. Mysteriously he’s there, and regardless of whether you believe it or not, he really is all you need, or could ever want.
WHAT LIES AHEAD
The format of what follows, as well as portions of the content, is used by permission of Christ Church in Berkeley, CA. This advent guide divides into four sections for daily use - a reflection, a song, prayers and scripture meditation. It can be used individually, in small groups or as a family. Each day read the reflection for the week, meditate on or sing the song, then choose one of the prayers to pray, and finally, read the selected scripture passage and short devotional.
Reflection for the Week
Each of the reflections come from Austin Farrer’s The Crown of the Year: Weekly Paragraphs for the Holy Sacrament (1954). British theologian and New Testament scholar, Austin Farrer, was a member of “Oxford Christians,” conversing frequently with C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Dorothy Sayers and T. S. Eliot. He has been called “the one true genius of the Church of England in the 20th century.” Farrer brought C. S. Lewis the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper on his deathbed.
Song for the Week
Lyrics from a traditional hymn are provided for further reflection and singing. We will also sing these songs as a community during Advent on Sunday mornings.
These prayers are drawn from sources like the Book of Common Prayer. They are often called “collects” and they summarize a theme of the day or week. You may choose which one to pray each day to establish a regular rhythm.
Daily Scripture Meditation
During Advent, these meditations walk through various scripture passages related to our sermon series on Sunday morning: Stories from the First Christmas. Each week also has a theme: