Published on November 28, 2022 by Abbey Plant  

Advent marks the beginning of the Christian year – starting four Sundays before Christmas and continuing until Christmas day. These weeks encourage the body of Christ to anticipate the birth of their Savior – not just looking forward to the birth of Jesus but learning to wait well as we anticipate his second coming, when every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. The resources and worship services attached at the end of this post are crafted to help your worshiping community anticipate the coming of Christ.

I did not observe Advent in my growing-up years – participating with the body of Christ in active, corporate, hopeful waiting. However, I do think I experienced the heart of Advent (from Latin adventus, or, “coming”) because in its purest form, the Christmas season is purposefully interwoven with themes of anticipation, a deep knowing that we are all waiting for something…for someone.

Sometimes it seems that, like the Israelites, we are still looking for a flashy warrior to come with a huge entourage, when we should know to look for a less-likely coming – a helpless baby, crying in a manger, born to an unwed teenage mother, surrounded by barn animals and lowly shepherds. Honestly, I’m not sure I would have looked there for my Savior’s coming.

Jesus came in an unexpected way, and I think we would be wise to believe that because “he is the same yesterday, today, and forever,” Jesus will keep coming in unexpected ways.

Coming to us in our helplessness. Coming to the outcast. Coming to the unclean. Coming to the sinner. Coming to the least of these. Coming in wisdom manifesting in humble leadership, vulnerability, compassion, and sacrifice.

My prayer is that in our waiting, we will contentedly look for our belonging in an unknown stable in a small town, joining him in looking to love others in the humble and unexpected places.

How will Jesus reveal himself in this season? Will I know him when he comes?

A choral arrangement by Douglas E. Wagner, adapted by Charlotte Lee from a 15th century text, sums up these thoughts in the anthem, I Shall Know Him When He Comes.

I shall know Him when He comes,
not with a sound of pipe or drum,
but by the holy harmony
which His coming makes in me.

He shall wear no royal robe
or a crown of precious gold
but He my Lord, my King shall be
always, ever there for me.

He shall not in castle warm,
live in splendor safe from harm.
But in a manger, crude He’ll sleep,
warmed by the breath of cows and sheep.

Come, Lord Jesus, tarry not.
Find in me a resting spot.
My heart is open, come dwell within.
Let life be born in me again.

By the holy harmony
which His coming makes in me,
I shall know Him,
I shall know Him,
I shall know Him when He comes.

Lord Jesus, find in us a resting spot. Help us to wait well and look with the right eyes in this Advent season and beyond, to know you when you come.

Advent Worship Resources
compiled by Emily Andrews and Tyra Shelley

Expectation: introduces the season of Advent and time of expectation

Preparation: centers on making room for Christ in all events of our life

Repentance: calls us to open ourselves to the work of Christ in the world

Rejoice: focuses on the story of Mary and the joy she found in carrying the Christ child