According to our son, any trip is all about the journey, rather than what happens when you get there. Looking out of the window, seeing what you’re passing, following the journey on a map.
Once upon a time, I used to just arrive at Christmas.
We had an advent calendar and counted down the days, but it was all about arriving at Christmas and not the journey and preparation. I even had a book to read through Advent, but didn’t quite appreciate the getting there.
Then I arrived in a church that had a communion service each week during Advent. Wow, what a discovery. I guess it was also part of being a Minister and Christmas becoming a Totally Different Thing (mainly total exhaustion!). When you arrive at Christmas Day having already done over thirty associated Christmas Services for all strata of the community, you’ve kind of lost the plot.
So the Advent Communion services became an oasis in a crazy time. And doing something every week, working my way through Advent, made me appreciate it in a whole new way. As a Local Preacher you will probably only lead worship once in Advent if that, and so much of it is taken up with other services – toy service, carol service, nativity service… I personally never felt I had taken the whole journey. So this was new, and powerful, to me.
I’m also not big into written liturgy. But the Advent Communion Service in the Methodist Worship Book is beautiful, all the more so because it’s used just four times a year.
And so I became hooked on purposefully travelling through Advent. It became something I had to do, I appreciated the journey for the journey itself. To arrive at Christmas, ready to welcome Jesus. Not to rush too soon (I object to singing carols any time before the Sunday before Christmas if we really must), but to take our time, to pause reflect, and really prepare.
And that is what #adventbookclub is about. An opportunity to journey, together. To arrive prepared, ready for encounter, ready to worship. It’s not meant to be a chore, but an oasis, a space; an opportunity for God to speak, to guide, to call.
This week I’m posting some introductory thoughts. On Sunday we will start with the daily reflections on this book. There’s quite a crowd of us. You’re welcome to join us – comment here, follow #adventbookclub on Twitter, or join us on the Adventbookclub Facebook page