In the past week, two things landed in my hands that I immediately wanted to share with every pastor and family I know. Both lead with an Advent edge and are great reminders and resources for reshaping our lives to a different rhythm than ones that surround us in our non-stop, digitally-enhanced culture.
The first resource is the 2015-2016 Christian Seasons Calendar from Salt of the Earth. Arranged to emphasize the liturgical year, it includes artwork, colors, and lectionary readings to remind us of the great story we are a part of as children of God. Most calendars in our house are full of to-dos and schedules that leave us gasping, "I can't believe we're almost halfway through November already!" This liturgical calendar is a great way to re-align our days and weeks to the tune of God's amazing work in the world.
The second resource is Waiting Songs, the new Advent album from Rain for Roots. If you aren't familiar with the band, they are in the business of "making new songs, for children, about the old Story." Their previous two albums, The Kingdom of Heaven Is Like This and Big Stories For Little Ones, are amazing ways to help write the stories and promises of God onto the hearts and minds of your family. The new Advent album is, as they say on their website, "about making time for waiting. The King is coming and He is already here. So we practice listening, quieting ourselves, celebrating, whispering good news, and yelling shouts of joy." The holiday season here in North America is full of songs, sales, lights, and specials that speak to a different season than the season of waiting and expectation that we are called to in Advent. This album is a great way to fill your homes and cars with songs and sounds that remind and reorder our lives to the coming King.
I was at a conference last week where Prof. Kevin Vanhoozer said, "Our culture is in the full-time business of formation...are we?" These two simple and beautiful tools—a calendar and an album—are subtle yet formative ways we can shape our families to be shaped by God.
What other resources, practices, or stories do you use to help form and nurture your family's faith in Advent and throughout the year?