Many of you who read this blog probably also follow my posts either on Facebook or Twitter; however, in case you don’t, you may have missed my announcement this week.
My new book, Rekindling Advent: Rediscovering the Season of Joyful Waiting, has been published by Doulos Resources. It was officially released yesterday, November 1, 2013. That’s just one month before the beginning of Advent.
So, why another Advent book? After all, there is not exactly a shortage of Advent devotional books. Well, this is not a devotional book. It’s about about the whys, whens, and hows of Advent, and of the Church Year in general.
Since Advent consists of four Sundays (and the weekdays in between), the book is in four sections. The first is entitled “Should We Observe Advent?” and answers the sorts of theological questions I’ve fielded from fellow ministers, elders, and church members over the years. Questions like, “Why are there Advent candles in a Presbyterian (or Methodist, or Baptist, or non-denominational) church?” It looks at the observance of Advent and the liturgical year in general from a sola Scriptura perspective. You may be thinking, “That’s not possible.” Well, read the book and draw your own conclusions.
The second section is “Why should we observe Advent?” In other words, are there scripturally sound, compelling reasons to incorporate this season into our worship at church and at home? Does it help us proclaim the Gospel, and does it help us live out that Gospel? I believe it does, and I explain why I believe so.
The third section is entitled “When should we observe Advent?” That may seem like an obvious question, but we’ve seen the “Christmas season” creep back further and further each year. Some Christians think we need to adjust accordingly and start Advent sooner. My take is, every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and if we only tell one part of the story, we’re not telling the story at all. By giving Advent its due, we in turn give Christmas its due. We let the story unfold.
The final section is “How should we observe Advent?” This section includes material from my big manila folder of “Advent stuff” that I’ve collected over the years. Ideas for Advent candle lighting liturgies, Advent hymn suggestions, and more. There is a special section on the Jesse Tree, incorporating the symbols that my wife has designed and digitized for machine embroidery. (You can get the digital files to embroider them yourself and/or purchase ready-made sets of these ornaments at her website.)
There’s a bonus section of Frequently Asked Questions about Advent. I try to cover it all: I’ve reached into my big manila folder and pulled out the questions you have asked me over the years. If you have a question that isn’t covered, I’ve included a special email address so I can answer your questions personally.
Please consider ordering a copy today. That will give you plenty of time to read it, recommend it to others, and begin to incorporate its ideas in your church and home, during this upcoming Advent season and in the years to come.