Is Advent mandatory?

December 9, 2021

From Pastor Joey

Is Advent Mandatory?

The short answer is no—and in a way, yes! The liturgical calendar that we use today began to be developed in the Christian Church around the fourth century A.D. The church calendar as it is known today was developed in medieval prayer books. Dennis Bratcher in his article The Seasons of the Church Year writes, “The Christian church…has long used the seasons of the year as an opportunity for festivals and holidays, sacred time set aside to worship God as the Lord of life…The Christian Church year focuses on the life and ministry of Jesus.”

While observing the Christian year is not mandatory, it can be a powerful tradition, unifying Christians throughout time and geography. “By systematically remembering and re-experiencing the key aspects of the life and ministry of Jesus, we are refreshed, deepened and reconfirmed in our own faith and depth of understanding. And because we are not the same person with the same understandings from year to year, our experience of the Church Seasons is similarly different and deeper each year.” (From the East Congregational Church of Milton, Massachusetts)

The season of Advent is the first season of the Christian year—the time of waiting, expecting, preparing for the birth of Jesus which culminates on Christmas Eve. The spiritual significance of Advent can be that we go beyond our culture’s hype and frenetic energy and center on the message of the scriptures and carols to see anew the mystery of God’s promise of Emmanuel—God with us!

One of my favorite Christmas songs is The Advent Prayer by Allen Pote.

Come Holy Jesus, come to free us from our sin.

Come Holy Jesus and make us pure within.

Inspire each heart with illumined surprise,

Enkindle a flame anew.

Increase our faith and strengthen our lives.

Show us the joy of living our lives in you.

Let this Advent season be the time that we pray, come Lord Jesus, quickly come. Help us to continue to turn our lives toward God like flowers to the sun. Let us repent of our unfaithfulness and rejoice that God sends us this precious Savior!

Prayer Concerns that we have:

  • For those who continue to go through physical struggles, those who are dealing with cancer, or other health situations. For those who are emotionally feeling lost and alone.
  • For those who haven’t been vaccinated yet; for all those who are ill from the Covid-19 virus; for those families who have lost loved ones to the virus; and for essential workers.
  • For peace in our country.
  • For Katherine Parker, missionary to Nepal.