Rev. Melissa Cooper is an ordained United Methodist deacon in the Florida Annual Conference, the Program Coordinator for the Life Enrichment Center, a United Methodist retreat and conference center in Fruitland Park, FL, and the director of LECFamily, a ministry that includes intergenerational retreats and camps, resources for families and churches, as well as training and workshops for local churches and leaders. She was a 2016 CEF Conference presenter.
Everyone seems to be excited about Christmas, don’t they? Nowadays, once the Halloween hustle is done, the Christmas craziness begins!
But in the church, we know that that’s not the whole story. We know that there is something in between - something important and meaningful. A time where we are called to do something that is a challenge for most folks in American culture … wait.
In Advent, we wait, which is why it’s so ironic that we mentally and culturally move so quickly to the Christmas season. We’ve even replaced Advent entirely - calling the time leading up to Christmas the “Christmas” season as well!
I like to think that Christmas is such a theologically powerful and spiritually moving season, we want to expand it into more of the year! However, by doing that, we ignore what our ancestors were trying to remind us in the formation of the Christian calendar. We start our year by waiting. We start our year reminded to be patient: hat God’s timing is not our timing.
It’s a message that Christians throughout history have found important, and there has never been a time that a message of “Wait!” has been more appropriate or needed. No matter your age or stage, a reminder to be still and find hope, peace, joy and love in the anticipation of the coming Christ is a needed and welcome reminder.
Don’t you wish your church could slow down, learn to wait and connect with one another for Advent - the WHOLE church? Don’t you wish there was some common thread that could connect generations, classes and worship services this Advent season?
What if that resource existed - and it’s FREE?
That’s what #pictureAdvent is all about - a chance to connect your whole church during this special season.
From daily devotions written by people of faith from a variety of denominations and locations, to worship and preaching resources, to activities for age-level ministries, to activities for families to do at home … #pictureAdvent’s framework meets each of your people where they are, while connecting them through common words and texts. #pictureAdvent even enhances the place we already connect the most by offering a framework for sharing experiences through photos.
All you have to do is sign up online at www.pictureAdvent.com for daily devotions and all the latest updates on new resources as they become available. You can also visit the site to download the resources already available for your worship and program ministries.
So the only question remaining is … how will you #pictureAdvent?