Brokenhearted Theology, Church, Contemp Culture, Global, Meaning, Ministry, Ramblings, Technology

The Season of Advent in History and Practice

Advent is just around the corner and, over the last few years, has become one of my favorite times of the year.  Four weeks of waiting before Christmas.  Not four weeks of building up excitement with more decorations and more Christmas carols, but a traditionally dark, meditative, and reflective season waiting upon the incarnation and upon the time when the world will be set right.

This week I had the chance to sit down and talk with Nate Feldmeth, a church history professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, to discuss the Advent season.  I loved hearing from a church historian about the origins and traditional practices surrounding Advent.  Thankfully for you, this was not just a private conversation between Dr. Feldmeth and myself.  There happened to be a microphone in the room and the conversation is now available online at The Burner Blog.

If you have any interest in Advent, the history of church traditions, and/or understanding why church history and ancient practices are important for the church today, you may want to spend twenty minutes and take a listen.

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2 thoughts on “The Season of Advent in History and Practice

  1. Virginia says:

    This is my first year of celebrating Christmas as a parent, and I have been thinking a lot about how to make it memorable and meaningful in the future for my son.

    I realized that Christmas is all about presents for a kid. My grandma would make a birthday cake for Jesus, my parents took us to Christmas Eve service, and we knew the Christmas story by heart. But, as a kid, I was just excited about PRESENTS!

    There is no way to take that distraction completely away from our home: grandparents, friends,and aunts & uncles want to be generous with him! But, I am starting to think that Advent may help bring some meaningful memories back. Any thoughts?

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  2. Virginia, awesome thoughts! I, too, remember Christmas primarily as presents – although there were definitely the “Jesus” elements in there too!

    I think that Advent can definitely help give a greater sense of meaning to Christmas. It would be a cool tradition, I think, to gradually decorate rather than decorate all at once – this builds in the sense of waiting and expectation that marks the season of Advent and a great chance to talk with kids about what we’re waiting for (Christmas, coming hope, etc.).

    I think that the church could do great things to reshape and reframe gift giving – bringing all things into conversation with the generosity of God and the desire to demonstrate that generosity for others. Gifts can be a great way to do that, but might be even better if Christmas traditions also take into consideration showing generosity and gift-giving towards strangers – to demonstrate the call to sacrifice, love, and generosity not just to those who are “like us” (whether by family, social status, etc.) but those who are “different.”

    Anyways, just some thoughts…it would be awesome to have a conversation about this the next time the four of us can get together – that would be really interesting!

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