Advent Ethics

How does Advent, the first season of the church year, cause us to reexamine our desires as we prepare to welcome Christ, the Desire of Nations? The church year "continually pushes us back to Christ," Kimberlee Conway Ireton notes, "to stories of his life and to the rites," especially to the Eucharist "by which we, his disciples, re-enact his life and enter into it."

Claude Mariottini explains how Isaiah's oracles are employed in Advent liturgies to interpret Jesus' birth, ministry, and suffering. We offer fresh translations of the "O Antiphons" set to music by Kurt Kaiser. These seven ancient texts use striking prophetic images to voice the ultimate petition of Scripture: "Come, Lord Jesus."

In Bernard of Clairvaux's account of Christ's "threefold coming," James Conner sees Advent as "a 'sacrament' of the presence of God in his world." Jenny Howell commends Father Alfred Delp's rich prison meditations on Advent.

Amber and John Inscore Essick describe three distinctive Advent traditions--lighting candles on a wreath, celebrating St. Lucia's Day, and decorating a Jesse Tree-- that help us faithfully narrate and prepare for the arrival of the Christ.

The study guides and lesson plans integrate Bible study, prayer, and worship to explore how the season of Advent guides our formation as disciples. The guides can be used in a series or individually. You may download and reproduce them for personal or group use.

Download the entire Advent Ethics issue and the set of six Study Guides. Or, download individual pieces by clicking the titles below.



Hymn and Worship Service

Inspirational Piece

Book Reviews

  • "Meeting God in the Church Year," by Kimberlee Conway Ireton
    • Adolph Adam, The Liturgical Year: Its History and Its Meaning after the Reform of the Liturgy
    • Joan Chittister, The Liturgical Year: The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life
    • Bobby Gross, Living the Christian Year: Time to Inhabit the Story of God
    • Robert Webber, Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality through the Christian Year
  • "Taking Advent Seriously," by Mark Oldenburg
    • The Bruderhof, ed., Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas
    • Gordon Giles, O Come Emmanuel: A Musical Tour of Daily Readings for Advent and Christmas
    • Mary Lou Redding, While We Wait: Living the Questions of Advent
    • Phyllis Tickle, Christmastide: Prayers for Advent through Epiphany from The Divine Hours

Study Guides and Lesson Plans (Download the set of six Study Guides)