In case you didn’t know, or had forgotten—because March took five months and the election won’t end—the church calendar will soon turn to Advent. This liturgical season, whose name comes from the Latin adventus (meaning coming or visit), is a time of waiting and preparation for the coming of Jesus the Messiah at Christmas. During these weeks, believers worldwide remember the birth of the savior and look forward to his return.
In addition to traditions such as the Advent wreath and singing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” people often refocus their Bible reading during these weeks in an effort to meditate on themes of waiting, grieving, longing, and hope. One of my favorite people (ever!) has released a new Advent reading plan that guides us to Bible passages we may not have always considered when contemplating Christmas. Dr. Sandra Glahn, a professor of media arts and worship at Dallas Theological Seminary, has written and collected—from students in her seminary writing classes—devotionals to serve as a guide for those seeking God through Scripture in this holy season.
From the book’s description:
“The Book of Malachi in the Hebrew Bible is the source of a familiar line from “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”: “Ris’n with healing in his wings.” The prophet Malachi pointed his readers in hope to the first Advent, or coming, of the Messiah. Thousands of years later, Advent Chai with Malachi helps readers look back to that Messiah, Jesus Christ, as well as look forward to his return. Readers can use this devotional either individually or with a group. The authors’ desire is for readers to “keep the main thing the main thing” during the days of anticipation leading up to Christmas. Many light a candle on a wreath each Sunday in Advent culminating in lighting of the Christ candle in the center of the wreath on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Included here are some simple prayers and instructions for doing so as part of devotional reading for those who desire to do so.”
Unlike most devotional books, Advent Chai with Malachi is available in several forms: