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Advent app joins online devotional resources


7:00 A.M. ET Nov. 30, 2011

Advent is a time of preparation as children light the second candle of the family advent wreath. An Interpreter file photo illustration by Ronny Perry.
Advent is a time of preparation as children light the second candle of the family advent wreath. An Interpreter file photo illustration by Ronny Perry.
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Shopping on Black Friday — DONE!

Supporting Small Business Saturday — DONE!

Worshipping on the First Sunday of Advent — DONE!

Online ordering on Cyber Monday — DONE!

The gift buying, tree decorating, party planning and other pre-Christmas tasks can easily overshadow Advent and spiritual preparation for remembering Christ’s birth. While Advent 2011 began on Nov. 27, 25 days remain before Christmas, plenty of time to use Advent devotions and activities delivered via email, downloaded to your computer or mobile device or accessed on the Web.

“The Journey” Smartphone app is based on the new book by the Rev. Adam Hamilton, but it also functions as a standalone Advent calendar. The app, available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices, opens with seven unlocked activities for children. A new one (videos, coloring sheets, puzzles, cards, Bible quizzes) opens daily starting Dec. 1. 

A daily online retreat offers group discussion in addition to Scripture reading, reflection and guided prayer practices. Upper Room Ministries, a part of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, and www.BeADisciple.com are sponsoring the Nov. 27 – Dec. 25 retreat based on “Behold! Cultivating Attentiveness in the Season of Advent,” a new book by Pamela Hawkins.

Lighting the candles of an Advent wreath weekly or daily allows individuals and families to focus on the coming of Christ into the world. If you missed lighting a candle on the first Sunday of Advent, choose another time this week to do so and then continue the tradition for the next three Sundays, beginning Dec. 4, and on Christmas Eve.

The Board of Discipleship’s worship resources staff offers weekly candle lighting meditations to use throughout Advent. Each includes a Scripture reading, short prayers and one stanza of a hymn or song. For those without an Advent wreath, Dean McIntyre, discipleship’s director of music resources, suggests, “Use candles alone — four of similar size and color for the four Sundays (purple or blue is traditional), and a white candle in the center for Christmas Eve.”

Advent wreath lighting liturgies can also be downloaded from the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries' website and adapted for home use. Each uses a verse of the song “Yalla magg na” (Senegalese for “The Child of Hope is Coming”), Scripture and prayers. Among the meditation writers is John Daniel Gona, who served as a global ministries’ mission intern with the Wi’am Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center in Bethlehem.

Free daily Advent devotions with the theme of “Passing the Peace” are delivered daily by email from the Society of St. Andrew. Writers reflect on where they have witnessed or been an instrument of God’s peace in the world. Each email includes a link where readers can donate to Society of St. Andrew’s hunger-fighting ministry in the United States.

“Expecting the Word” is a free daily devotional study, which can be read online or downloaded. The National Council of Churches published the study, based on the texts for Advent from the “Revised Common Lectionary,” through its Justice for Women’s Working Group.  The United Methodist Board of Church and Society is part of the group.

For more Advent and Christmas resources, visit www.umc.org/advent.

*Noble is editor of Interpreter and Interpreter OnLine, publications of United Methodist Communications.

News media contact: Kathy Noble, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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