Advent is the season of expectation, preparation and watchfulness as Christians prepare themselves to celebrate the coming or, in Latin, adventus of the Messiah and, of course, we look ahead to His second coming at the end of time.
Just as John the Baptist foretold the coming of Christ, this season of the liturgical calendar prepares us for the birth of Jesus Christ. It is the time leading up to Christmas when even in the very secular world we live in one can feel the magic, the sense of great joy around the corner. Christmas lights appear on the high street, Christmas decorations appear in shop windows and sadly, for many, the season of Advent is actually more thought of as the season of Christmas shopping!
It is a time when Christians particularly feel part of a great community as the deep, spiritual salvation offered by our Lord and Saviour becomes part of the everyday symbolism from the first Sunday of Advent. It penetrates the secular world as much as the spiritual, as the secular world tries to capture Christmas, but not the essence of what it actually is. Christmas trees are found everywhere, and their 16th-century origins are sometimes associated with Protestant Christian reformer Martin Luther.
Christians come together as one. For Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, Advent begins on 15th November with the Nativity Fast and lasts 40 days. In the Anglican Communion, it is the last Sunday of November that is celebrated with an advent wreath, an idea imported in the 19th century from Northern Europe, and the lighting of the first of four calendars. The advent calendar was also imported around the same time from Germany, the home of so many Christmas markets.
We share so much together at this special time, and this is where the Digital Church Platform® allows a single parish or guild church to leverage the benefits of being part of the Church of England. It connects with all of the wonderful resources created for use by its congregations and parishioners throughout England.
That means your local church website has world-class content, truly a church online. Whether it is news, social media, videos, podcasts, books, etc., we have worked closely with our churches to automatically connect with the most pertinent content. Your church admin doesn’t have to do anything. It just shows up day in and day out.
The team at Digital Church Platform® monitors the new initiatives and makes them available on your church site seamlessly. Of course, if you do not want it to appear, it will not. You remain in control of what appears on your website.
When a church admin logs into the Digital Church Platform®, they see the dashboard. It is the place with easy links to social media, Google Analytics, and our own user ideas section. There is also a ‘News’ section to highlight new content such as a quick link to the Church Of England Digital Labs! Of course, there are also immediate notices of church tech software enhancements such as the popular digital prayer wall.
As with any organisation, it is sometimes difficult to keep on top of all of the initiatives of the centre. The Church of England does its best to listen to the needs of the Christian community and develop the resources to engage on a spiritual level.
They have just launched their Advent & Christmas 2020: Comfort and Joy campaign, which provides great resources for every church, no matter how small or large, to tell the true story of Christmas. If you are fortunate enough to be on the Digital Church Platform®, some of this content will appear automatically on your site under News, Faith and What’s On.
Although many churches are able to re-open their doors and hopefully stay open through Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the Twelve Days of Christmas, many parishioners have told us they would prefer to keep some form of mixed-mode worship. The church online will remain an important way to engage, and we think the Digital Church Platform® is one of the easiest to use, purpose-built platforms available.
We hope that every day in December brings you the peace and grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
As concerns about another Christmas spent in lockdown arise, we consider whether Christmas can truly be cancelled.
In this age we live in, it seemed for a long time that there was a space for everyone on the internet except Christians and the Church. However, to quote one of Ernest Hemingway’s characters “gradually then suddenly”, the presence of Christianity on the internet has exploded.
More than five gold rings, The Twelve Days of Christmas is a celebration of the gift of Jesus but is often overlooked. Read this post for insights into this season and ways to reconnect with it.