advent conspiracy: worship fully

Monday, December 3, 2012

My goal was to publish my Advent posts early Sunday mornings, but instead I decided to do my final editing Sunday afternoon. As a result, my initial writing seemed a bit derivative after listening to the sermon Sunday morning – my editing was definitely a bit more severe as a result. (Thanks for that, Pastor Andy.) Of course, when you do Advent (basically it’s the 4 weeks before Christmas where we prepare for the ‘coming’ of the baby Jesus) the same way, year after year after year, it is only natural that certain themes are going to echo throughout.

Once again, we’re doing Advent Conspiracy for the Christmas season. I love the focus it gives my season. I love the message it plants in my heart and in the hearts of my kids. I love this new tradition.


AC_Worship_WORDIt starts with Jesus. It ends with Jesus. This is the holistic approach God had in mind for Christmas. It’s a season where we are called to put down our burdens and lift a song up to our God. It’s a season where love wins, peace reigns, and a king is celebrated with each breath. It’s the party of the year. Entering the story of advent means entering this season with an overwhelming passion to worship Jesus to the fullest.
(text from adventconspiracy.org)

When most church people say ‘worship’, they mean singing and praying together, typically on a Sunday morning. I spent a few years in fairly charismatic churches; there is a lot of joy in the worshipping freely through song and prayer and dancing and just being together with other believers. Those things are important and meaningful, but the older I get, the more I know of God, the more I realize that my very life is worship to Him. My everyday life. “The liturgy, the laundry, the women’s work” as Kathleen Norris puts it. The dailiness of all that threatens to wear me down combined with the sharp pain of all that threatens to pull me under. These are the moments when my worship becomes real. Even though I still long for the occasional high of an emotional worship service, I’m learning what it means to worship daily with my whole life, my whole self.

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, AC_Worship_ICONordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Romans 12:1-2

This Christmas season is turning out to be more painful than most, but that very pain is what’s driving me to my knees every single day. It’s not just about saying goodbye to part of our family, it’s about letting go in a hundred other daily ways. Sacrifice. Can I let go of the things I hold most dear? Can I relinquish control – not just in a grand scheme way, but in a day by day, moment by moment way? The Advent Conspiracy icon for this week’s theme is a person with arms outstretched, lifted up, hands open. I am challenged every time I look at it. Are my hands open? Or am I clenching them shut with all I hold dear inside? What does it look like to live a life poured out for my Savior, poured out for others?

This week, as I begin to walk my children through this Advent season, we’re talking about what it means to live our lives as worship. To give sacrificially, to recognize the redemption in the everyday. Fully surrendered. All to Him.

AC_4_icons_horz_WORDS


Part of our family worship is a daily Advent activity. This year, we’re using the Jesus Storybook Bible Advent reading schedule. I’m also using a Jesse Tree calendar with my older kids. I’m attempting to incorporate our Advent Conspiracy themes in the middle of those templates. We’ve been spending everyday conversation talking about the theme for the week, lighting the first Advent candle together, and filling our home with the music of the Season. Do you celebrate Advent? Do you observe it as a family? If so, what are your plans for this year?

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