A couple of years ago, I wrote a series of liturgies for lighting the Advent wreath each Sunday of Advent, plus one for Christmas Eve.
They were well-received when I originally posted them, and with the season coming up in just a few more weeks, it seemed like a good time to share them again in case you are a pastor or worship leader still putting together your order of service.
These could also be adapted for personal devotional use.
Imagine getting an Advent card in the mail – not a Christmas card, mind you, an Advent card.
On the outside is a picture of John the Baptist in all his scruffy, locust-eating glory, decked out in camel hair. And he’s pointing a finger right at you. On the inside it says, “You brood of vipers! Get your act together or God is going to have some words with you!”
Actually, when it comes to Advent, John the Baptist is the one who brings us season’s greetings. It’s doubtful that Hallmark will be hiring him any time soon, though.
John bursts on the scene near the Jordan river, starting his ministry before Jesus starts his. He baptizes and preaches there; and neither of these actions are easy to stomach for a lot of people.
His main message is repentance. To repent is to redirect your life; one popular understanding is to “turn your life around.” A more accurate meaning of repentance is to “refocus.” Whenever a new king was crowned, heralds would proclaim, “Repent:” …