FORMATION : ADVENT 2022
Formation in the image of Jesus for the good of others. This is the goal as we grow and serve at City Church.
At the beginning of the liturgical year, we have a new opportunity to see this formation take place. As we live out the story of Jesus, we invite you to participate in a communal practice and a personal discipline for each season change. A communal practice is a habit that is done in the context of community while a personal discipline is a habit done on your own. We are constantly being [de]formed by the world around us. Step into these intentional rhythms that are designed to form us into the image of Jesus instead.
For the season of Advent, we want to encourage our Growth Groups to consider a few ways you might lean into this season together. These are optional add-ons to your weekly rhythm of time in the Word and in prayer together.
First, we encourage you to gather briefly each Sunday Evening of Advent to read Scripture, sing a hymn, read a prayer, and light that week's Advent candle. An Advent Nights guide will be provided each week. In addition, we invite you to consider encouraging one another in practicing the Spiritual Discipline we have selected for the Season of Advent - Solitude and SIlence. Each week, we will provide a guide that will explain why we would practice this discipline and some practical tips to get started. Consider reading through the guide as a group and encouraging one another along the way. Again, this is optional, but we pray that should you choose to participate it will enrich your Advent Season and help form you into the image of Jesus for the good of others.
Our world is a (de)formation machine. It’s noisy. Many of us are neurotically busy. Our minds are constantly flooded with information. We find ourselves swinging back and forth between manic activity and trying to numb our minds with social media or streaming services. Most of us are scared to death to be alone with our own thoughts.
The spiritual disciplines of solitude and silence are practices that help us fight this deformation. Solitude is the act of withdrawing from other people in order to be fully present with the Lord. It is not the same thing as isolation or “me-time”, but an intentional act to be in the presence of God. Silence could be thought of as the twin of solitude. Silence is the practice of removing noise and distractions in order to wait on the Lord and yield to his work in our souls. We invite you to focus on this practice with us during the season of Advent. We will provide weekly guidance on how to incorporate these disciplines into your daily rhythms.
Advent Nights are family gatherings in homes each Sunday night of Advent. A very simple resource will be provided to read a scripture, sing a hymn, and pray. It’s a brief time where you can intentionally invite friends, neighbors, and children to participate. We invite you to host one in your home (apartment, dorm room, etc.) or you can be connected to another’s home.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES : ADVENT 2022
Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas. Watch for the Light is an excellent companion for those looking to expand their advent practices. This book offers essays, reflections, and poems from well-loved theologians and thinkers, encouraging readers to reflect on the waiting and watching this season requires. With readings dated from November 24th through January 7th, this book leads you through Advent, Christmas, and the beginning of Epiphany.
The Center for Christianity, Culture, and the Arts Advent Project. An Advent calendar creates a daily rhythm of anticipatory reflection. Each day of The Advent Project features a Scripture passage, a devotion, a work of visual art, a poem, and a piece of music. The Advent Project will help ground you in the unsurpassable beauty, mystery, and miracle of the Word made flesh.
The Jesse Tree Ornament Craft Kit - This free resource pairs the gospel story with Christmas tree trimming. Daily print-and-color paper ornaments are used to highlight moments in the Biblical storyline from Creation to Cross. If you do not have access to a printer, we encourage you to contact your local library for free prints or you can contact Pastor Cory.
The Best Gift Ever Given - This book is a 25-day discovery journey that helps your child understand the significance of Advent. Is packed full of Scripture, interactive questions, and a modern take on leading your family deeper into appreciation for God's goodness in a season all about gratitude.
Sacred Ordinary Days - This integrated planner is built around the church calendar. It helps Christians cultivate the peace, presence, and purpose of our faith every day. It incorporates the simple tools of reflection, spiritual formation, and journaling/list-making. If you need financial assistance for this year-long resource, please let Pastor Jason know.
Daily Prayer App - The Daily Prayer app offers common prayers, confessions, and Scripture readings. Daily rhythms are nurtured each day by structuring these prayers around morning, midday, evening, and late evening guided readings.
The liturgical calendar follows the life of Christ and, in its cyclical rhythm, invites us to enter the movement of his life on a yearly basis. As we observe each season, we can observe Christ. We pray that as you allow the seasons of the church year and anchor your life to the life of Christ, you’ll discover that a fuller joy and vitality marks your days.
Lesslie Newbign writes, “the business of the Church is to tell and to embody a story, the story of God’s mighty acts in creation and redemption and of God’s promises concerning what will be in the end. The Church affirms the truth of this story by celebrating it, interpreting it, and enacting it in the life of the contemporary world.”
Each Sunday we see the arc of God’s story rehearsed and embodied (God is Holy, We are Broken, Jesus Saves Us, Jesus Sends Us)... but how do we “enact it in the contemporary world” of our homes, where we can create culture and habits that form us.
The church calendar, much like Sunday Service, moves us through a story. Specifically the story of Jesus with his incarnation in Advent all the way through the sending of the church in Pentecost.
ADVENT - the future hope of Christ
CHRISTMAS - the joyful birth of Christ
EPIPHANY - the perfect manifestation of Christ
LENT - the temptation and death of Christ
EASTER - the world-changing resurrection of Christ
PENTECOST - the renewing Spirit of Christ