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.