We at The Pastor’s Workshop know what it is like to sit in the sermon saddle! We have walked in your shoes. We know what is helpful to us when preparing a series and want to share that with you. It is our prayer that this Advent Preaching Guide may be a blessing for you in that process.
Whether you utilize it as a guide to your own preaching or a devotional aid in your reflection on Advent, know that we are rooting for you and trust that God will use you to speak words of comfort and encouragement to his people during this season.
- Exegesis of Text Through AIM Methodology
- Key Quote
- Key Illustration (and comment)
- More Illustration and Quote Themes
- Liturgical Elements
The Message of Advent
Advent is a season of longing, of waiting, and of expectation that the transcendent God, the sometimes seemingly far-off God would draw near, come close, and enter into our world. As the late Eugene Peterson adeptly expressed the fulfillment of this longing in his paraphrase of John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and moved into the neighborhood,” Advent is the season in the church where we yearn afresh for God’s intimate presence among us.
Advent is the dawn of the new liturgical year, the sunrise of the church’s soul, a new season of promise and renewed hope that God will indeed surprise us with another visit and moreover with a prolonged stay in our territory, a domain occupied by pandemics, pains, perils, and precarious pitfalls, and that God will prevail. Advent harkens to the ancient hope of Israel, to the incarnation of God in the flesh in Jesus, and to the church’s hope of his return. It is a season in which we might make the words of Isaiah 64:1 our own: “Oh, that you would rip open the heavens and descend!” We have taken this clarion cry of the prophet Isaiah as our Advent series’ theme, “Tear Down the Heavens,” expressing the human heart’s desire for God’s presence.
The Messiness of Advent
We at The Pastor’s Workshop know what it is like not only to live in this season, but also to shepherd others in such a season of longing, having ourselves stood and ministered in your shoes for many years. We are acutely aware that seasons of hope and longing, ironically, bring with them their share of suffering and sadness. They can equally be seasons of discouragement and despair as they are of expectancy and encouragement.
Advent is a time for both proclamation of hope in the coming of God, but also the hard reality check that life is messy, hard, unjust, and often unbearable. It is in this tension of emotion and paradox of reality that we as preachers insert ourselves as the broken and humble servants of God that we are, both those who proclaim the hope, faith, joy, peace, and coming of Christ while needing the succor of its message and comfort of its hero ourselves.
The Method of this Advent Series
The Advent series we have provided follows the Revised Common Lectionary, Year B. It is meant to be a reflective guide for you in your preaching preparation for Advent. The series provides you with the collection of lectionary texts for each Sunday of Advent, and highlights a central text for preaching. We provide a set of lenses for looking at each highlighted text that focuses on the AIM of the text. AIM stands for Ancient context, the text through the lens of Jesus (Ἰησοῦς), and our Modern application.
We think that understanding the Ancient or original context of the passage is necessary to inform and guide our interpretation of its theme. We also believe along with the Reformers that the interpretation of the Ancient context of the Hebrew scripture for the church necessarily flows through its Lord, Jesus Christ. Furthermore, we affirm that the role of the preacher’s AIM is to bring the congregation from the Ancient through Christ and to the Modern context, making the message real in our hearts and lives. In addition, we will resource you with themes and ideas for preaching for each highlighted text, including referenced illustrations, and quotes from The Pastor’s Workshop library.