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What is advent and why do we need it?

If we don’t celebrate advent you will not celebrate the real Christmas. Without advent, Christmas will always become about bigger and better gifts, amounting up debt and eating too much. Without advent, Christmas will struggle to celebrate the Christ child. Let’s have a think about why and how we can celebrate.

CRIS ROGERS

WE STRUGGLE

As a modern society, we struggle with waiting and we struggle with having things in the appropriate time. This is why Cadbury’s cream eggs are on sale December 26th and this is why people can’t wait for a new movie coming out so find some dodgy website to watch a shaky version online.

 

We don’t like to wait.

 

Over the last few years, you may have noticed more and more how people are putting up their Christmas trees mid-Nov but once Christmas Day comes they are ready to take it down. Advent gives us a season of setting up for Christmas Day, it paces us and makes us learn to wait. Without Advent, we don’t know how to wait for Christmas Day so we bring Christmas forward.

 

The discipline of Advent forces us to enjoy the waiting.  It gives us a daily movement towards this wonderful moment of the coming of King Jesus.

 

SLOWDOWN

If I give my children a hot chocolate, with cream and extra marshmallows they will both do the same thing. They would ‘down’ it as fast as they could and then moments later ask for more. I often wonder if they take any time to taste the drink or is it gone before any flavour hits the tongue.

 

SIP

My father-in-law loves wine and I have watched him sip and enjoy the wine in his glass and make it last extra lengths of time. He sips the wine and enjoys every small amount noting the tones and flavours. In the same way, I had coffee with a friend recently who is a coffee connoisseur. They sipped the coffee to taste every last note of nut, chocolate and flavour.

 

Advent forces us to sip Christmas. In Advent, we enjoy each moment and prepare for Jesus’ coming. My challenge is can we implement a time to process and enjoy the Advent of the Christ child? Can we use the season of advent to step each day slowly closer, enjoying each day of the waiting.

 

Advent starts: 1st of Dec

Advent lasts: until Dec 24th night.

 

 

HOW TO USE ADVENT:

 

  1. Get an Advent book

I cannot more highly recommend ‘Advent for Everyone’ by NT Wright. In the book, Tom Wright goes on a journey through the book of Luke, as he explores the Gospel themes of encouragement, renewal, justice and celebration. Such a great book to read in the Advent season. Get a copy here.

 

2. Get an Advent candle

An Advent candle is a candle marked with the days of December right up to Christmas Eve. Each day in December the candle is burnt down a little more to show the passing of the days leading up to Christmas. The advent candle can be a beautiful daily reminder of Christ's light coming.

 

3. Kindness Advent Calendar

Rather than having or only having a chocolate Advent calendar why not try making yourself a ‘Kindness Advent Calendar”. There are many to be found online but you can also make your own very easily. Simply create a calendar and under each day place an act of kindness to practice over Advent. This way you can make the Advent season not just about getting but giving.

Here is an example you

Advent Kindness Calendar

 

4. Have an Advent retreat day

Having an Advent retreat is a great way to hit pause and take time to breathe rather than letting the weeks disappear in Christmas preparations. Having a day to meditate on the impact of Jesus’ birth in your life.

 

A retreat helps you to get away from people for a while, get away from work for a while, enjoy nature and just be. It is time to stop and be renewed and recreated. The noises of the world will always still be around – a siren sounding in the distance, aeroplane droning overhead, the wind frantically blowing all around but a retreat day will help you sink into that deep, still peace where God is found.

 

Retreats can be taken in any old space, barn or church, garden hut or by going for a long country walk.

If you want to find a centre to lead you on a retreat then do check out OSCAR

 

 

 

 

 

 

PREPARING YOUR KIDS FOR A HAPPY CHRISTMAS

CRIS ROGERS

Christmas is such a wonderful time of year that so easily gets swamped with gift-giving and gift-receiving. If we aren’t careful our children grow up with a consumer approach to a season all about the simple Christ child. As society aims to sell more stuff and make Christmas as commercially successful as possible we need to simplify and point to the story of Christmas.

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