There are roughly fifteen weeks until the start of Advent, the season that leads to the celebration of Christmas in the Christian liturgical calendar. It may seem incredibly early to be thinking about Christmas and Advent, but many pastors and church leaders begin thinking about and planning this season in the early fall–what they will preach and what they will teach. Every year I desire to create a teaching and preaching plan for Advent that helps people turn their attention away from the gluttony of the season–the shopping, eating, drinking, spending and going–and towards the ministry and message of Jesus Christ. It’s a pretty lofty goal, but it’s always worth a try!
That is why I was so excited to help edit a devotional for the coming Advent season in partnership with the Bethany Fellowship. Gathering the voices of a diverse group of young clergy across denominations we created a daily Advent devotional that asks the question “What if this Advent season we prepared room in our heart and in our imagination not just for the baby sweet and mild, but for the ministry of Jesus? A ministry that fed the hungry and healed the sick and challenged those in power.” This is a resource to connect the baby in the manger with the man who preached, taught and healed. Utilizing the text from the prophets, Psalms and epistles as well as the Gospel of Matthew, Prepare: An Advent Devotional offers a rich engagement with what it means to welcome Jesus this Advent season.
Prepare has weekly themes that line up with the Revised Common Lectionary text for this year. Each weekly theme is easily accessible to preachers who preach in a sermon series style during Advent, making it easy to connect preaching with a resource people can use to reflect daily at home.