Engaging With Advent
HUNGRY FOR THE PRESENCE OF GOD
As the holidays are quickly approaching, we find ourselves in a season marked by so much potential for good and for engagement with God and others. However, we can also find some unintended guests joining us at the table: consumerism, distraction, busyness, debt, and even loneliness. What if we considered beforehand what we wanted to see God do in this time and then sought to orient our days and practices to shape us in the ways we want to be shaped; to cultivate holy longings?
We believe the season of Advent can help us do just this. Advent, which marks the beginning of the Christian Calendar, officially starts four Sundays before Christmas. This year it runs from December 1-24. It both looks ahead to Christ’s second Advent where He will return as a triumphant King doing away fully and finally with sin and death, and looks back to remember His first Advent as a humble baby two thousand years ago. Because we live “between Advents,” this is a season marked by expectation, longing, and hopeful waiting. It calls the Church to live in the gratitude of the “already” of what Christ has already accomplished, but it also teaches us to groan in the “not yet” as we await the return of our King.
This year, we’ll be looking at the life, practices, and longings of Simeon and Anna in Luke 2. We hope to learn from their affections and longings for all they can teach us in this season! We pray that God would powerfully use Advent at Park Church to increase our longing for Jesus and love for His kingdom through a couple events and practices.
- Daily Prayer
Whether you have a rich prayer life or haven’t prayed in years, we’re asking you to consider how you might stretch your prayer life during this season. For some, it may look like starting every morning saying The Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13). For others, it may mean spending an hour in prayer each day, spending 10 minutes during each lunch break in prayer, etc. The goal isn’t to get prayer “right,” it’s to grow in intentional time with Jesus during this season. One helpful resource to encourage daily prayer is “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day” and is available at the Info Table for $10.
- Weekly Fasting
We’re also asking that each person consider fasting from something on Wednesdays during Advent (December 4, 11, and 18) with the goal of increasing our hunger for God. Again, this is a discipline to help train our hearts; it has nothing to do with earning favor from God. Some may fast from food (all day or just lunch, for example). Others may fast from technology like social media or Netflix. Take a moment beforehand to ask God, “What might I give up on Wednesdays to increase my hunger for you?”
Click Advent 2019 Weekly Guides below to find our weekly materials and more resources.
- Advent Hymn Sing
Thursday, December 12 • 6:30–7:30pm
Join us for an evening of singing through beloved Advent and Christmas hymns together. Come early at 6:15pm for cookies! Kids are invited to wear their pajamas to the event. Childcare is not provided, as families are encouraged to worship together.
- Christmas Eve Services
Tuesday, December 24 • 4 and 6pm
We gather on Christmas Eve for an hour-long service. We’ll sing together, read through the story of Christ’s birth, and hear a short message. Childcare is not provided, as families are encouraged to worship together.