The great Christian festivals are traditionally marked by three expressions of devotion: vigil, fasting and pilgrimage. Pilgrimage can be a physical journey from one place to another, but it’s always accompanied by a more significant, inner journey.
Advent the start of three journeys of pilgrimage.
The liturgies and daily readings of Advent point toward the longer journey: toward the end of time when the work of creation will be completed.
The passage of time through Advent brings us nearer his first coming in the celebrations of Christmas Day.
The third pilgrimage is the inner Advent: a time to review and renew. Advent is a time of longing summed up in the pleading of the Advent hymn "O come, O come, Emmanuel."
Completion of the three Advent pilgrimages.
The first journey will be completed in God’s good time, and second will be celebrated in its completeness on Christmas Day.
The third pilgrimage is as much about the journey as it is about its completion. Advent is traditionally a time of focus on this inner journey helped by the practice of spiritual disciplines including fasting and retreat.
Advent wreaths, candles and calendars while having no spiritual merit in themselves may help to measure out the steps and stages of the internal pilgrimage. Advent study courses may also help to provide a structure for the route of the journey.
Choosing a personal Advent study course.
Choosing the Advent course that supports your inner pilgrimage is a matter of personal preference. The only advice to give is that you choose one you expect to be able to stick with all through Advent.
Look at what’s available on Eden.co.uk and make the most of any offers and money off vouchers active at the time of ordering.
If you like the idea of following an Advent pilgrimage, but feel you’d benefit from some company along the way, then joining or leading at group Advent course may be the way to go.
Choosing an Advent course – Some suggestions for you or your group
This year sees the release of a number of new advent studies for groups and individuals. Here's a few to get you started:
The Archbishop of York's Advent Book for 2016 from SPCK: Advent for Everyone - A Journey Through Matthew
Tom Wright takes you into the heart of the Gospel of Matthew, exploring the key themes of watching, repenting, healing and loving. Sparkling reflections by our most popular Christian author, from Advent to Christmas. Each of the four themes is explored over a week, beginning each time with the Sunday reading from Matthew in the Revised Common Lectionary; and each of the 28 sections ends with helpful questions for group discussion or personal reflection.
Refocus on the true meaning of Christmas with this study all about the Gospel account of the nativity. Find out the true biblical account of Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, Simeon, Anna, Herod, the shepherds, the magic, and of course, Jesus Himself. See how each of their stories connects with Jesus and discover how you too can have a real relationship with the King.
The Good Book Company: The One True Story - Daily Readings for Advent from Genesis to Jesus
The book has 24 short meditative readings working through Bible stories from Genesis to Jesus. Each day ideas for reflection, prayer and application, designed to excite you about the Gospel message in the run up to Christmas Day.
BRF: Light Windows - An Advent Calendar for a World in Waiting
Uodated for 2016, the journey mapped out in this book is an invitation to look into some of these lighted windows, and discover a few reflections of what we wait for, and long for - reflections of God's guidance, his call to trust him and live by his wisdom. Each window seeks to bring familiar scripture into focus with everyday living, encouraging us to enter right into the place where God is coming to birth, and to make the experience of Bethlehem our own.
Quick Guide to
Quick guide - Advent courses to support your inner pilgrimage
Advent courses - what are they?
- Structured, Bible based study guides for the weeks before (and sometimes after) Christmas.
- Designed for groups or individuals to follow with reflective or active participation.
- Courses dealing specifically with the coming of Christ, his revelation in our lives and his return.
Advent courses - why sould I want one?
- To better understand what the Bible says about the coming and return of Christ.
- To reflect on God's purpose and direction for creation, and to explore our own.
- To follow privately or share with others in the inner pilgrimage of Advent.
October 17th, 2016 - Posted & Written by Laura White