At the beginning of the calendar year we make resolutions and plans for entire year. Why don’t we do the same before Advent? After all, for people of faith, the liturgical year and rhythm that revolves around the life death and resurrection of Jesus, should be more important for us than the secular year.
Planning for the Coming Year
This is the time to plan your scripture readings, prayer rhythm and retreat times for the coming year. Get together with your spouse, your family, or a group of friends and do some planning. Here are a few questions to ask yourself first
- Do you want to follow the church calendar with your daily readings?
- Do you want to read through the Bible in a year?
- Do you want a contemplative approach to bible study?
- Is there a specific theme you would like to consider?
- Are there blogs you visit regularly that augment your Bible reading? Is there a focus these blogs offer that can run in synch with your readings?
My favourite scripture reading plan is still the daily lectionary readings that begin in Advent. These cycle on a three year rotation. There is an Old Testament, Psalm, New Testament and Gospel reading. Part of what I love is that the readings from each section of the bible follow the same theme and have helped me to understand a lot about where Jesus drew his scriptures and theology from. However not all the books of the Bible are included so it is good to identify these and work out a way to incorporate them as well in your readings.
Choose Your Scripture Plan
Here are some resources to help you identify which plan you might like to try. I have tried to put together a list from a wide variety of denominational perspectives:
Sacred Space – Daily Prayer with the Irish Jesuits
Pray as You Go – also from the Jesuits. I love this daily prayer for your phone.
If reading the daily lectionary readings is a little much for you check out Lectionary Liturgies which posts liturgies for Sunday worship based on the RCL weekly readings.
biblegateway.com provides a variety of reading plans that can be downloaded as an app.
The Bible App – also provides lots of reading plans for different seasons of the liturgical year as well as those themed around a topic selected by the user.
The Daily Office from the Mission of St Clare and based on the Book of Common Prayer
Daily readings from the Presbyterian Mission Agency USA
BibleStudyTools.com provides several plans for reading through the whole or parts of the bible in a twelve month span.
Northumbria Community provides resources for praying the daily office through morning, midday, evening and compline services.
Or if you really want to be challenged this Advent try this Social Justice Advent Guide for Families from the North Carolina Council of Churches. It uses the Lectionary Year A scriptures but it would be easy to adapt these for any year.
And Rachel Held Evans has a post on 28 Ideas for Advent that is definitely worth a look.
This is one of a series of posts on resources for Advent and Christmas. Check out the other posts here.