Resources for an Advent journey
After sharing some thoughts on the meaning of Advent and our need of it, I thought I’d pass along a few resources that might be useful for your Advent journey. This is not an exhaustive list, but rather a random assemblage of things that have been on my mind lately. If you’re at all like me, you’ve come home from church today “in the mood” for Advent, and now you’re trying to figure out how Advent will work in your life. Even though we’ve all known for, well, a year, that Advent was coming, it feels like no one knew the day or the hour. Maybe you’re more on top of this than I was. We’re always scrambling to find the right candles for our Advent wreath.
At any rate, here are some ideas to enrich your Advent, or at least these are a few things that I find helpful. Please share yours in the comments!
- For a good, quick video intro to the season, my two current faves are one from Busted Halo and another by the previous Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. OK, the one I like even more than those two is this classic by Stephen Colbert, especially appropriate for the First Sunday of Advent.
- I’m a big fan of the Advent Conspiracy. They are doing a valiant job of trying to help us all recover a deeper meaning of Advent beyond “the season that gets in the way of Christmas.”
- Forward Movement, where I serve in ministry, offers a rich array of Advent resources. This year’s Advent booklet is From the Holly Jolly to the Holy by Jim Rosenthal. For those who know him, it will not surprise you to learn that St. Nicholas plays a prominent role. With brief daily meditations, the book is a wonderful companion for Advent Sunday through the Feast of the Epiphany. Besides print, it’s available on all the standard ebook readers. Check the website for details.
- Our friends at Church Publishing have released a wonderful iOS app for Advent featuring artwork of the inimitable Jay Sidebotham (who now serves at RenewalWorks). Get the app today, it’s the best 99 cents you’ll spend.
- SSJE offers an online Advent calendar in partnership with the communications office at the Episcopal Church Center. Speaking of the church center, the Episcopal News Service had a nice wrap-up of a number of good resources for the season.
- Advent might be a good time to start (or renew) a commitment to praying the daily office. Forward Movement offers the offices online with all the readings and prayers included. It’s all straight-up Book of Common Prayer.
- Oh, and as I mentioned here yesterday, I’m the December author for Forward Day by Day. If you’ve never given this daily meditation offering a try, here’s an opportunity — lots of links in my blog to all the ways you can read Forward Day by Day.
This time of year, I love listening to Advent music. Some of my favorite recordings include:
- Advent at Merton (CD or iTunes) from Merton College, Oxford.
- Advent Procession ‘O’ Antiphons (CD or iTunes) from St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle.
- Advent (CD, download version not available, I guess) by the Gregorian Singers of Minneapolis.
- From Darkness to Light (CD or iTunes) from Salisbury Cathedral.
These are all glorious, and you won’t regret buying any of them. The iTunes links, above, should give you samples. Or you can search other sources for MP3 recordings with previews.
If you have other resources to add, please leave them in the comments.
May God bless us all this Advent, as we seek Christ’s light in our own lives and in the world.