Advent 2023 Is Here

November 12 – December 24

This year, Christ Church will celebrate a 7 week Advent, beginning earlier and extending our time of reflection and preparation for the coming of Christ in the past, present and future. Click the link below for answers to some of your questions about a 7 week Advent. Feel free to reach out to Pastor Janet for more information.

Advent Morning Prayer

We will again have Advent Morning Prayer throughout the extended Advent, and our Wednesday Bible study. Advent Morning Prayer for December 20 is posted above.

In future weeks, we will join on zoom for Morning Prayer.

What is the history of a longer Advent? 

Advent was a 7 week festival in many European cultures throughout the Middle Ages, even though the traditional Roman celebration was 4 weeks. The length was meant to match the 7 weeks of Lent as a time of preparation for the celebration of Christmas. Over time, the season was standardized to 4 weeks in many traditions, although it remained a longer season in the Greek and Russian Orthodox calendar. In fact, the Greek Orthodox Church in America still celebrates a longer Advent. A 7 week Advent lets us return to this longer time of preparation.

What is the theological reason for a longer Advent? 

Advent is theologically a celebration of the coming of Christ in the past, present and future. This leads us to hope for attention to these areas in our Biblical readings. Apocalyptical readings, those that center on the return of Christ to the world after his death, are assigned to our lectionary in the time just prior to the traditional 4 week Advent. By increasing to a 7 week Advent, we are able to enrich our experience of Advent in this full sense. 

What is the spiritual value of a longer Advent?

With a 4 week Advent, our spiritual celebration of waiting for the coming of Christ across the ages overlaps with the height of the celebration of the secular Christmas, focused on selecting gifts, hosting and attending Christmas parties, putting up festive decorations, and more. By stretching out our celebration, we are able to create more space for us to sink into the experience of Advent and to distinguish the holy celebration of Advent from the more secular waiting for Christmas. 

What will we do with our extra 3 weeks?

Our 3 weeks will be combined with our existing 4 weeks to fill the 7 weeks. Are you familiar with the (relatively recent) names for the 4 candles of the Advent wreath? This year, we will have 7 candles in our Advent wreath, with the weekly celebration named after the ancient description of the titles of Jesus, based on the 6th century Latin O antiphons.

Jesus is: 

  1. Wisdom/Sapientia
  2. Ruler/Adonai
  3. Root of Jesse/Radix Jesse
  4. Key of David/Clavis David
  5. Morning Star/Oriens
  6. King of Nations/Rex Gentium
  7. God with Us/Emmanuel

We will read the readings as appointed for each Sunday, but we will hear them in the Advent context. Our annual Christ the King service will be folded into our anticipation of the eternal Christ. And we will shift to our Advent vestments and paraments early.