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Monday, October 29, 2012

Celebrating the Church Year: An Announcement!

A little Advent story with an exciting announcement at the end... (Go ahead, scroll right down to the announcement; I'll never know!)

About five years ago, in November, my husband and I walked into the nave (the central open space, not the "unprincipled crafty fellow"- that one has a "k") of a Baptist church. We were there to watch our daughter's school choir concert. No, she didn't attend a Baptist school.  We live in a small town; things like public school concerts in Baptist churches happen here.

By 3268zauber (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA
-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Anyway, back to the story. We walked into the nave of this Baptist church in mid November and there, in the front of church, flanked by a drum set and backed by a projector screen, stood something I had not expected.  What you ask? It was an Advent wreath! Now, mind you, its candles were red. I did shutter my "liturgy nut shudder" at that, but, still, it was an Advent wreath. Granted, I am neither a Baptist nor what might be called a modern Evangelical Protestant.  So, Baptist churches may have sported Advent wreaths, creative candle colors and all, for decades, and I probably wouldn't have known it.  Still, although readers are welcomed to correct me, I think this is generally not something that was typical of modern Evangelical churches a decade ago.

By Till Westermayer from Freiburg, Germany (Cookies III)
[CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
That night confirmed something that I had been suspecting for awhile back then: The church calendar is coming back into fashion, or, is maybe being discovered for the first time among a twenty first century group of Evangelical Protestants. Being a stodgy old traditional Protestant who actually enjoys things like 17th century hymns that my daughter thinks sound like funeral dirges, ornately embroidered chasubles, and pink flowers on the altar on Gaudete Sunday, I was pretty stoked by this observation.

By Jody Morris (originally posted to Flickr as easter) [CC-BY-SA-2.0

 (], via Wikimedia Commons

I think it is fair to say that folks from a wide range of neighborhoods of Christianity are beginning to recognize that the Christian calendar is part of our common Christian heritage. The liturgical calendar has been in place since at least the fourth century, long before the Protestant reformation, and even before the East-West schism.  More significantly, the Jewish worship and cultural life, from which our Christian traditions and common worship grew, is steeped in a cycle of holidays, observances and lectionary readings. Somewhere along the way, we Protestants decided that these things are too "Catholic".  We had forgotten that they belong to us, too.

That is changing. Protestants are beginning to learn what Catholics, Orthodox, and some traditional Protestants have known all along: The cycle of the church year can help guide us in our walk with Christ, heal us with its rhythms of worship and study, and fill our households with peace and joy.

By UpstateNYer (Own work)
, via Wikimedia Commons
So, here's the announcement:
In that spirit, I am thrilled to announce the upcoming publication of a book on celebrating the church year in the home. The book is being edited by Jessica Snell and, in her own words, "will gather, in one place, all the information you need in order to match the rhythm of your home life to the rhythm of the church year." The book will contain recipes, crafts, prayers, a historical background, scripture selections, and family and community activities for each of the Christian holidays and seasons. If you've wanted to incorporate the rhythm of the church year into your home life, but haven't been sure how or where to start, then this book is for you. If you already keep the church year in your home, but would like an indepth guide and resource to make your observances more creative and meaningful, then you are going to love this book. I am honored to have had the opportunity to contribute the book's Christmas chapter. I am even more excited to have the opportunity to incorporate the creative ideas of my fellow contributors' chapters into my family's home worship life.

If you would like to bookmark the website of the publisher, Doulos Resources, for future publication updates, you'll find them here.

Pax Christi,


  1. That's exciting! Will it be available as a tangible book and an electronic book?

    1. Thanks for asking! It will be available as a print book. However, it is the policy of the publisher, Doulos Resources, to provide electronic copies in any format, for free, to anyone who purchases a print copy of their titles. This is true of all non-curriculum titles. They also have a Book Bloggers program that bloggers may be interested in:

  2. This sounds really interesting, I'll be sure to check it out. I loved the liturgy of Christmas especially when I went to an evangelical Anglican church during my semester in London.

    By the way, I grew up in Southern Baptist churches and I can't remember a Christmas when we didn't have the advent wreath with a candle lighting and scripture reading. (I'm 27 now, so these memories are from the late 80s and all through the 90s to now - though I haven't gone to an SBC church in about 6 years).

  3. That is wonderful! Is the publisher related to the library ship that goes around the world? I just recently bought a couple of books from them when they docked in Subic, Philippines. :^) Patsy from

  4. I am keen to obtain this book Michelle. I would love to start incorporating the church year into our home. I feel our home is lacking something that this may help us to find again.

  5. How exciting, Michelle! Congratulations on such an accomplishment! Our church lights the Advent wreath candles throughout the season and has done so since its very beginnings. We attend a Presbyterian church and do keep the calendar. Some holy days are more emphasized than others so I'm sure this book would be very informative. Great work!

  6. My father was an SBC minister and we didn't have Advent wreaths growing up. Coming home from my junior year of college, we suddenly had one. My father's explanation was that it was neat idea someone had just come up with to keep the focus of Christmas on Christ. I didn't have the heart to tell him they'd been around for years.


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