Advent 2: Advent Peace

Jill Ver SteegLiturgical Year, Prayer, Spiritual Practices

We blow out the candle of confrontation and light the candle of peace. Lectionary Texts: Isaiah 40:1-11, Mark 1:1-8 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. This is Mark’s way of saying “Genesis.” This is the genesis of all things. Even as Genesis chapter one, verse one, took us out into the wastes of formless void and primordial chaos before God spoke and created a good world, so Mark … Read More

Advent 1: Advent Hope

Jen deCombeLiturgical Year, Prayer, Spiritual Practices

First Sunday of Advent: We blow out the candle of despair and in its place we light the candle of hope. Lectionary Readings: Isaiah 64:1-9, Mark 13:24-37 This year’s first Gospel reading of the Advent season comes as a shock to many of us. Unlike the images of Christmas that surround us, there are no joyful angels shining in the sky or three wise men bearing gifts. The only stars in this reading are the … Read More

Hanging of the Greens

Pressley CoxLiturgical Year

Growing up, I had never heard of a “Hanging of the Greens” service.  Preparing the sanctuary for Christmas was done by a group of women one Saturday morning.  The bulletin announcement the next day would be a thank you to those who “decorated” the church.  It wasn’t until seminary, that I began to understand the full theological meaning of preparing the sanctuary for the liturgical season of Advent and Christmas.  A Hanging of the Greens … Read More

An Imperfect Lineage: A Youth Reflection on the Genealogy of Jesus

Kaylee OsteenLiturgical Year

“An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”  Matthew 1:1 (NRSV) Over the past few years, the summer Montreat Youth Conferences have inspired me in a multitude of ways.  Escaping to the mountains of North Carolina provides an environment to help young people grow closer to God, to their church family, to meet new friends, and to reconnect with old friends.  Every year, as I hear … Read More

Why Celebrate the Christian Year?

David GambrellLiturgical Year

The Christian year is an ancient pattern of seasons and festivals by which congregations and individuals immerse themselves in the story of God’s saving love through Jesus Christ. This way of keeping time is sometimes called the liturgical year or church calendar. I prefer the name “Christian year” because it helps us remember the central focus—patterning our lives according to the great mystery of our faith: “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come … Read More