The Season of Advent 2016 (Year A)

Notable Feast Days this Week:

November 21 - Presentation of the Virgin Mary (Eastern/Roman)
November 22 - Cecilia the Martyr, 230 
November 23 - Clement of Rome, 100 (Western Calendars)
November 24 - Clement of Rome, 100 (Eastern Calendars)
November 24 - Flora and Mary, 851
November 27 - First Sunday of Advent (Western Calendar)

Liturgical Color - Purple/Blue

Revised Common Lectionary

Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm 122
Romans 13:11-14
Matthew 24:36-44

--- The First Week of Advent --- November 27, 2016 (Year A)

Keep Watch
"Scripture tells us that we are forgiven! It calls us to walk in the light of the Lord (Isaiah 2:1-5), to pray for peace (Psalm 122) and to keep watch for Christ's return (Matthew 24:36-44), putting aside our deeds of darkness and living in the light (Romans 13:11-14). In this season of Advent, we celebrate the Child who is the Light. We thank God for forgiveness of sins and reaffirm our desire to walk with the Lord." 
- Thomas Oden in Ancient Christian Devotional

Happy Christian New Year!
Advent means “coming” or “arrival”
Over the course of these next four weeks, the Church turns its focus toward the first and second comings of Jesus Christ. During this time, we will prepare ourselves for Christmas by longing together for the Messiah and renewing a desire for his presence in our lives.  We pray and prepare together as a symbol of the kind of life brought by our Messiah.  Not just looking back, but also looking forward to “The blessed hope of His glorious appearing." Christ has come, He is with us, and He will come again.

Purple: The main color for the season of Advent is purple. This color communicate the majesty which heralds the coming of the King of Kings.

Evergreens: Ancient symbol of immortality, life and growth in Christ.   

Circle: Symbolizes the eternity of God and unending life

Light: A symbol of God's presence

Darkness: The opposite of light, a symbol of God's absence. Darkness stands for the lack of salvation which is overcome by the arrival of Christ the Messiah (Isa.9:2Romans 13:12). It also reminds that we are still waiting for his second advent.

A New Start to the Christian Year (Year A):
A new year starts this week! Download a free single sheet liturgical calendar for 2016-2017. This resource was created by San Fransisco artist Barbara Lyon. Many thanks for her permission to use this wonderful resource.

Download with dates and descriptions
Download with dates

Happy Thanksgiving (November 24, 2016)
A Prayer of Thanksgiving (from the Book of Common Prayer)
Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks for all your goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all whom you have made. We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

Psalm of the Week
Scripture Readings

  I rejoiced with those who said to me,
    “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
  Our feet are standing
    in your gates, Jerusalem...
  That is where the tribes go up—
    the tribes of the Lord—
to praise the name of the Lord
    according to the statute given to Israel.
  There stand the thrones for judgment,
    the thrones of the house of David...

Isaiah 2:1-5
War transformed into peace
Romans 13:11-14
Salvation is near, wake from sleep
Matthew 24:36-44
The sudden coming of salvation

Daily Readings
Revised Common Lectionary

Daily Readings
Book of Common Prayer

The Entire Bible in One Year
Practicing Prayer
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. 
-from The Book of Common Prayer
Contemplative Prayer (View and Download)
Daily Prayer (View and Download)
Audio Prayer Meditation - Pray As You Go
Psalm 122 Spotify Playlist
More Spotify Psalms Playlists...
Singing Psalms and Hymns
"Ten Modern Arrangements for Advent" - An article by Philip Majorins in Reformed Worship Magazine (Sept. 2016)

Advent Hymn (The Lord Has Come to Dwell) | Sarah Majorins | Leadsheet 

Savior of the Nations, Come | Leadsheet 

Wait for the Lord | Taize Melody | Leadsheet 

Come Light Our Hearts | By Sandra McCraken | Leadsheet

Psalm 122 Metrical Options (Tunes: Penitentia and Morecambe) 

Resources for Pointed Chant 

Resources for Plainchant

Read about "Singing the Psalms: A Guide for Modern Worship"
Commentary on Matthew 24:36-44

“To teach us that our ignorance of the date of his return (which his silence has kept hidden from everyone) is not without its usefulness, Christ warns us to keep all his commandments. We should also be occupied with constant prayer in order to guard against the coming of the thief. For the thief is the devil who seeks to invade our bodily homes with the darts of his thoughts and allurements in order to ruin us while we are sleepy and careless. It is good therefore that we be prepared. Our ignorance of the day of Christ’s return should provoke us to be careful as we eagerly await his coming." 
Hilary of Poitiers
More Historic Commentary (View and Download)...
Music for Listening (Advent)
Josh Garrells just announced that he will be releasing his new Christmas/Advent album on November 24th. Head over to his Bandcamp page to listen to a track and pre-purchase the album.
Mignarda is a fabulously talented duo specializing in the the interpretation of renaissance music. Pure and simple, traditional Advent music doesn't get any better than this. Be sure to read about their recording process over at their Bandcamp page, then  take some time to soak in these sounds while preparing Thanksgiving dinner.
Thematic Art 
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