Guest / Limited Access /

I confess: as an adolescent, when my parents tried to impress on my two brothers and me the importance and the intricacies of Advent observance, I could hardly keep from rolling my eyes. In a country that spends its cold Decembers in hot pursuit of food, presents, and parties, the historical niceties of an ancient liturgical season seemed … well … irrelevant.

These days, on the other side of an evangelical conversion and nearly a decade of graduate study in church history, I've begun to see what excited my parents about Advent. I'm even entertaining the possibility that my own young family might benefit from an informed observance of Advent.

(How to help my kids keep their eyes reverently lowered and their hearts in tune during such observance is, I confess, still pretty much beyond me. But that's a discussion for another day. I'm sure my parents are chuckling as they read this!)

In fact, Advent season presents a unique opportunity to many Protestants. It's like the once-a-year conjunction of two planets: It brings a great mass of Bible-loving, praise-and-worshipping, extemporaneously praying born-again Protestant Christians into close contact with a big chunk of the historic church's liturgy. Even many non-liturgical Protestants don't think twice about joining in the season's rituals, old as well as new. They pull out and count off advent calendars, listen to lectionary sermon themes and Bible readings, and recite set prayers at the dinner table around candles in meaningful hues of purple and rose.

So as Advent's four bright Sundays offer us ways to meditate on Christ's coming, let's explore the sustaining power of liturgical observance. In the words of John Bookser Feister, editor of AmericanCatholic.com, churchly seasons ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueDaily Devotion: How Christians Rank 16 Mundane Essentials of Faith
Subscriber Access Only
Daily Devotion: How Christians Rank 16 Mundane Essentials of Faith
A graphical look at Pew's research on the lives of highly religious Americans.
Current IssueMeet the Man Behind the Bono and Eugene Peterson Conversation
Subscriber Access Only
Meet the Man Behind the Bono and Eugene Peterson Conversation
If church leaders and artists have been estranged in western culture, then David Taylor is helping to lead them into a more blissful union.
RecommendedWheaton College Suspends Hijab-Wearing Professor After 'Same God' Comment
Wheaton College Suspends Hijab-Wearing Professor After 'Same God' Comment
(UPDATED) Larycia Hawkins said she wanted to show Advent solidarity with Muslims.
TrendingBlessed Are the Agnostics
Blessed Are the Agnostics
How I learned to see my unbelieving husband through God’s eyes.
Editor's PickWhy the Local Church Is Trending Up
Why the Local Church Is Trending Up
We needn't be afraid about the future of our congregations.
Christianity Today
Advent—Close Encounters of a Liturgical Kind
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

December 2002

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.