First Advent

Luther Gesangbuch Advent und Weinachts_Lieder
Yes, this is actually mine.
It’s from an 1882 Kirchen-Gesangbuch
[Evangelical Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod]

I’ve said quite a bit over the last twenty-one months, but have generally avoided neglected refrained from things of a more religious nature.

Nevertheless, we are approaching a time of year celebrated by most Christians around the world. I’m referring – of course – to Advent.

Martin LutherMy own religious preferences have never been “High Church” so-to-speak. Creeds and liturgies just aren’t my thing, you understand. I have nothing against them personally, it’s just that I think religion of any kind needs to come from the heart. If you’re told exactly how to respond to a particular reading, doesn’t that take away the personal aspect of religion? I don’t mean to start a theological discussion; this is just the way I think.

That said, I find some liturgies absolutely gorgeous. And as I’ve begun to meditate on the Christmas season, I find myself drawn to observing Advent for the first time.

I suppose I should have seen it coming. I’ve spent the last year independently researching medieval and early modern Christian traditions. I’ve waded through beautifully illuminated manuscripts (isn’t the digital age wonderful?), finally putting my college-level Middle English and Frakturschrift skills to use.

For the first time I’ve found myself searching aisles for Advent candles and wondering if I’ve found the right color (confounded colorblindness). I’ve scoured the internet for at-home reading, songs, and meditations.

Last night I lit my purple candle . . .

Purple Advent Candle
[ok, so I really found one online]

sang Veni, Veni, Emmanuel . . .

Veni, veni Emmanuel!
Captivum solve Israel!
Qui gemit in exilio,
Privatus Dei Filio,
Gaude, gaude, Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel.

and read Isaiah 40:1-5.

Tröstet, tröstet mein Volk! spricht euer Gott; redet mit Jerusalem freundlich und predigt ihr, daß ihre Dienstbarkeit ein Ende hat, denn ihre Missetat ist vergeben; denn sie hat Zwiefältiges empfangen von der Hand des HERRN für alle ihre Sünden. Es ist eine Stimme eines Predigers in der Wüste: Bereitet dem HERRN den Weg, macht auf dem Gefilde eine ebene Bahn unserm Gott! Alle Täler sollen erhöht werden und alle Berge und Hügel sollen erniedrigt werden, und was ungleich ist, soll eben, und was höckericht ist, soll schlicht werden; denn die Herrlichkeit des HERRN soll offenbart werden, und alles Fleisch miteinander wird es sehen; denn des HERRN Mund hat es geredet.

Advent: A Celebration in Three Languages. And this is just the start!

I’d like to know: do you observe Advent?

If so, what do you do or what are your traditions?

I’d love to hear from you!


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