As I wrote in the first posting on Advent, Advent was not a word I grew up with, which is a little strange since we went to a moderately liturgical Presbyterian church. Perhaps the fact that we attended church sporadically accounts for the absence of the word Advent in my early vocabulary, for surely the minister must have used the word.
Since my early Christian years (this is after I actually came into a relationship with Jesus) were in non-liturgical churches “Advent” continued to be a stranger to my vocabulary. Advent and Lent were not “seasons” of the church year, though Christmas and Easter were certainly focal “points” of the year. But then came my first position as an interim pastor, with Clifftondale Congregational Church, in Saugus, MA. Clifftondale was a liturgical church, and while my first actual pastorate would be with two churches in Becket, MA. that also valued tradition, neither would be as liturgical as Clifftondale.
It so happened that Vickie and I arrived at Clifftondale a few weeks before Advent, thus enabling me to observe the planning and preparation that preceded the season. I dutifully prepared what would be my first Advent series of sermons, and I think that they may still be my best sermon work in that area. Since then, with I think one exception, I’ve structured my church planning and sermon preparation around the seasons of Christ’s birth and resurrection – they make for firm pillars in not only the life of the local church, but also in the lives of families and individual followers of Jesus Christ.
How are you intentional about this Advent season?