Monday, December 03, 2007

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

(Side note: I've been away from my Narnia series for some time now, and hope to pick that back up with greater regularity as the semester comes to an end soon.)

This year is the first time that my wife and I have really observed Advent. This will be our second Christmas since we've been married, but I never celebrated Advent before either. It seems sad to me that so few Christians in America (and especially those of us from the Free Church-read "baptist"-tradition) today seem to know anything about the Ecclesiastical Calendar.

Perhaps the reason for this is because we (Baptists) have rejected a number of the liturgical customs, and in some cases the more disagreeable or even unorthodox doctrines that have tended to come along with them. However, I think that there can be some merit to customs such as Advent and some other Christian seasons.

The beauty of Advent is that it directs our focus toward Jesus, both His incarnation (His birth on Christmas) and His imminent return. For me, it's so easy to get caught up in the "hustle and bustle" of the Christmas season. I like to take time to re-focus on Jesus and to think about and celebrate His birth, and the precious gift that He is to all mankind.

Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent, and my wife and I have started going through a book about Advent, entitled Celebrate Christmas: And the Beautiful Traditions of Advent. Last year and the year before I began a search for some good resources for reading and devotional times leading up to Christmas. This one is not bad from what I've seen, and actually it one of the better resources I've run across, but the trouble is the scarcity of material. Perhaps that's not such a bad thing. There are far too many Christian books on other topics (many of which I'm simply not that interested in).

We'll be lighting the candles in our Advent Wreath soon. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the season of Advent. Do you celebrate it? Are there any books/resources that you use and/or recommend?

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