Advent begins Sunday, December 2
This Sunday at New Joy we will celebrate the beginning of Advent, a four-week season of anticipation leading to Christmas. We will hang deep blue cloths on the altar, pulpit, and on the wall, recalling the dark nights in which words of hope were spoken by angels to lowly shepherds, and the Word of Hope was born in a manger.
It's a season in which the Scripture readings will echo to us the world-renewing words of ancient prophets, John the Baptist, and Mary the Mother of our Lord. It's a season of waiting not just for the festivities of Christmas, with all its presents and food and family celebrations. Advent is a season of anticipating how Jesus - "the One who is, who was, and who is to come" (Revelation 1:8) - changes us and our world.
Advent is a season during which we "prepare the way for the Lord," (Luke 3:4; Isaiah 40:3) for Jesus is coming to bless and renew and make all things new.
What does Advent look like at New Joy?
Each Sunday during Advent we will read multiple brief Scripture passages - usually a First Reading from the Old Testament; a Psalm read responsively (ie, back-and-forth) between the reader and the congregation; and a Gospel reading.
As part of our preparations for the coming of our Lord, our prayers during Advent will include prayers of confession and declarations of our Lord's forgiveness. We will light candles around an Advent wreath, increasing each week the light that scatters the darkness. Each Wednesday evening during this season (December 5, 12, 19) we will gather at 7 pm for candle-lit Evening Prayer, singing songs of hope and lifting our prayers to the One whose kingdom will know no end (Luke 1:33).
And as we do each Sunday of the year, we will sing songs of praise; we will lift up our prayers for the church, the world, and all in need; we will receive the presence of our Lord in the bread and cup of Holy Communion; and we will experience the joy of Christian community.
(Learn more about what to expect in worship at New Joy)
I hope you'll join us this Advent for worship as you prepare the way for Jesus to enter – again – into your life and into our world.
~ Pastor Chris Duckworth