Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Preparing for Advent

Who knew that planning for Advent could be so challenging? One of the things about the first Advent as the pastor of a church is learning the traditions that already exist. When do the decorations come out? Where do they go? What color are the candles in the advent wreath? So many questions.

It has been really interesting to learn the traditions and practices of a new place. You might think that all Lutheran churches celebrate Advent and prepare for Christmas in the same way, but you would be very wrong. Some celebrate Advent in a very deliberate way; others as nothing more than a warm-up to Christmas. Of course, there are many traditions in-between as well.

Here we are trying for a mix of the common and expected traditions that have historically been a part of the church, along with some of the local traditions. We are beginning with the Advent wreath with no other decorations in the sanctuary. During Advent, we will add more each week - first, the tree, followed by lights and chrismons. Then, we will add greens and other decorations throughout the church. Finally, a star will be hung, the nativity set added, and then just before Christmas eve, poinsettias will be added throughout the sanctuary.

During the season of Advent, we will plead, prepare, proclaim, and participate in the rituals of the season leading up to Christmas. As we wait and prepare for the coming of the Christ child, we behold the wondrous mysteries of God and His care for His creation.

"A voice cries out: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God (Isaiah 40:3)." How are you preparing?

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