Join us this Advent season as we prepare our hearts and minds for Christmas!
The 2022 Digital Advent Retreat is here! Each Wednesday in Advent, we will meditate on a different ‘Advent A’ word through Scripture, music, and hands-on activities. Starting November 30, you will find each week’s content below. We look forward to celebrating with you!
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Digital Advent Retreat 2022
“Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.”
In this gift-giving season, many of us eagerly await the delivery of each new package. We look forward to gathering with family or friends, even counting down the days. Perhaps the holidays bring a needed respite from school or work. Some simply wait for all the hustle and bustle to be over. For all of us, this season is one of anticipation.
And so it was at the first Christmas. The Israelites, God’s chosen people, trusted His promise to send a Messiah—a savior, anointed by Yahweh. They spent hundreds of years in exile, oppressed, and unable to worship as God’s Law instructed. Father taught son, mother reminded daughter—the Messiah will come!
Anticipation is part of God’s good design for salvation and redemption. In the waiting we recognize more and more deeply the need for Christ’s coming, both in a manger thousands of years ago and again in victory. Anticipation grows our desire for the best gift—Emmanuel, God with us.
Bake Rosemary Sweet Potato Rolls
This delicious dish involves a lot of waiting, smelling rich scents that need hours before they become tastes. How does this experience compares to picking up a pre-made tasty treat at a café?
“Thus says the Lord:
‘A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are no more.’”
The knowledge that mourning will be turned to joy does not put an end to the mourning. Promised restoration does not undo loss.
God’s Word does not gloss over the poignancy of our anguish; it affirms the brokenness of this world and the deep pain it inflicts. More importantly, God’s Son stepped down from His throne to suffer with and for us. Jesus came into this world and left it in tears. Because He is Emmanuel, God With Us, He is a man of sorrows, well acquainted with grief.
And even though we know it ends with joy, the Lord in His wisdom gave us a Christmas story that is incomplete without anguish. May we have the courage to hear and to tell the whole story this Advent season.
My God, My God
Consider Boc Su Jung’s sculpture Hand of the Victorious. What about this piece captures your attention? How does this representation compare to how you envision victory?
“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.”
Reflection At some point every child hears the words, “You need to be patient,” and frequently during the holidays. Whether waiting for the day presents can be opened or for Grandma’s arrival, there’s nothing to do but hunker down and wait.
But the Bible does not speak of patience in such passive terms. Rather, it points to farmers, known for working long hours at backbreaking tasks, as an example of patience. While waiting for rain, farmers are intentionally active. The rain benefits no one unless seeds have been planted. Seeds will not grow if the soil has not been prepared. Because the farmer knows the rain is coming, she tills and plants and fertilizes and does everything in her power to prepare for the rain.
This is the way devout Jews waited for the arrival of the Messiah. They studied the Scriptures, kept God’s law, cared for the needy, and traveled great distances to share sacred Truth with Gentiles. The season of Advent reminds us that in the same way we are called to action as we await Christ’s second coming, and it draws us into a rich tradition of active saints who have gone before us.
Song Until that Day Comes
Activity Find a partner and some wrapped candies. See how many candies you can unwrap in the time it takes your partner to sing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. How did a sense of urgency impact your actions while you were waiting for the song to end?
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
Reflection: The Messiah is here at last! The anticipation is over, the anguish is redeemed, and the action realizes its purpose in the arrival of the Christ child. The Lord of all creation took on the body of a helpless infant who would become a limited man, out of His deep, pure, boundless love for mankind. It is time to celebrate, to worship the incarnate God, to revel in the fulfillment of promise and prophecy.
Yes, there are still unfulfilled prophecies and incomplete promises, and yes there is heaviness in the knowledge of what is to come, but this Advent, this glorious new beginning, rings through the ages. It gives a foretaste of joy to the whole world, peace on earth, goodwill from Heaven to humanity and from neighbor to neighbor. Let us share and savor it as the ultimate gift of Christmas.
Song: Joy to the World
Activity: Fill in the blanks and meditate on an arrival in your life.
The journey has been __________, and now I am __________.
I thought it would __________. I am grateful the Lord kept His promise to __________. As an act of worshipful response, I __________.