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Preparing for Advent. Week One Overview of the Christian Calendar Meaning of Advent Idea of Preparation Week Two Themes of Advent Special Sundays in Advent. Week Three Advent Projects Creative Ideas for Family Activities Week Four Preparing to Light the Christ Candle

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Preparing for Advent

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Preparing for Advent


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Week One

Overview of the Christian Calendar

Meaning of Advent

Idea of Preparation

Week Two

Themes of Advent

Special Sundays in Advent

Week Three

Advent Projects

Creative Ideas for Family Activities

Week Four

Preparing to Light the Christ Candle

Celebrating the Coming of the Wise men - Epiphany

Course Overview


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Seasons of the Christian Calendar

  • Advent: Beginning of the Christian calendar.

  • Christmas: Twelve days beginning with December 25th. 2 Sundays.

  • Epiphany: Begins twelve days after Christmas and celebrates coming of wise men. Continues 10 Sundays.

  • Lent: 6 Sundays.

    • Ash Wednesday

    • Holy Week (Passion)

      • Palm Sunday

      • Maundy Thursday

      • Good Friday

  • Easter: 8 Sundays.

    • Ascension of the Lord

    • Pentecost (Last Sunday of Easter)

  • Ordinary Time: 22 Sundays.

  • Advent: Begins fourth Sunday before Christmas.


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The Meaning of Advent

  • Dictionary Definition: A Coming or Arrival.

  • Rooted in the Hebrew Concept of Messiah

    • The Story of Israel

      • Psalm 137

      • Jeremiah 31:23ff

    • Savior/Redeemer Figure

      • Isaiah 9:1-7

      • Jeremiah 23:5-6

    • A Well Developed Eschatology

      • Matthew 2:6


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O Come O Come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel. That mourns in lonely exile here before the Son of God appear.

O Come, Thou Day Spring, come and cheer, our spirits by thine advent here; Disperse the clouds of night, and deaths dark shadows put to flight.

O Come, Desire of nations, bind, All peoples in one heart and mind; Bid envy, strife and quarrels cease. Fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.

CHORUS: Rejoice, Rejoice, Immanuel and ransom captive Israel.

O Come O Come Emmanuel


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Preparing the Way

  • A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.”

    • Isaiah 40: 3

  • How does your family prepare for Christmas?

  • How does your family prepare for Advent?

  • How do you prepare yourself daily for the arrival of the Christ child?


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    Weekly Themes in Advent

    • Week One: Hope

    • Week Two: Peace

    • Week Three: Joy

    • Week Four: Love


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    Week One

    • The Candle of Hope

      • Isaiah 9:2

      • O Come O Come, Immanuel

        • O Come, O Come, Immanuel and ransom captive Israel. That mourns in lonely exile here. Before the Son of God appear. Rejoice, Rejoice! Immanuel. Shall come to thee O Israel.

      • What other themes/verses of hope in Scripture can you identify?


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    Week Two

    • The Candle of Peace

      • Isaiah 9:6-7

      • It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

        • It came upon a midnight clear. That glorious song of old. From angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold. Peace on the earth, good will to men, from heaven’s all gracious king. The world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing.

      • What other themes/verses of peace in Scripture can you identify?


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    Week Three

    • The Candle of Joy

      • Luke 2:8-11

      • Joy to the World

        • Joy to the world, the Lord is come. Let earth receive her king. Let every heart prepare him room. And heaven and nature sing. And heaven and nature sing. And heaven and heaven and nature sing.

      • What other themes/verses of joy can you identify in Scripture?


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    Week Four

    • The Candle of Love

      • John 3:16

      • Love Came Down at Christmas (109 BH)

        • Love came down at Christmas, love all lovely, love divine. Love was born at Christmas. Star and angel gave the sign.

      • What other themes/verses of love can you identify in Scripture?


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    O Come O Come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel. That mourns in lonely exile here before the Son of God appear.

    O Come, Thou Day Spring, come and cheer, our spirits by thine advent here; Disperse the clouds of night, and deaths dark shadows put to flight.

    O Come, Desire of nations, bind, All peoples in one heart and mind; Bid envy, strife and quarrels cease. Fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.

    CHORUS: Rejoice, Rejoice, Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel.

    O Come O Come Emmanuel


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    Discussion Questions

    • How has your family “paid attention” to Advent in the past?

    • What is your favorite part of Advent? (Candles, singing, devoting, fellowship, sermons, personal reflection, etc.) Why?

    • The Israelites were waiting for a Messiah to release them from bondage. How does the story of Israel, awaiting a Messiah, parallel our own spiritual condition, then and now? How is Israel’s story the story of every person on earth?


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    A Quick Primer on Epiphany

    • What’s coming next?

      • Christmas - Twelve Days

      • Epiphany - Two weeks

        • Meaning of “Epiphany”: The manifestation of a divine nature. God in the flesh. John 1:1ff

        • Traditional Epiphany Scripture: Matthew 2:1-12

        • Legends of Epiphany

          • Wise Men, the Age of Jesus, and the Biblical Testimony

        • The Point of Epiphany

          • You Can Never Be the Same

          • What Gift Will You Bring?


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    A Prayer for Advent

    • Your face is shining on us, O God, in the young woman who is with child. She will bear a son and name him Emmanuel, “God with us.” Your presence shall thereafter be a source of comfort and guidance to all that call on your name. Your footsteps will accompany us, your breath will give us new life, your arms will console us, and your hands will be there to welcome us home. You are a God for all seasons and give us all reason to worship you. The advent of our Salvation is near. Come Lord Jesus.


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