I have stopped using the Lectionary during Advent (and Lent as well). Why?
It seems to me that in this day and age you can never tell the story of the first Christmas (or Easter) early enough or often enough.
It is far better to begin with the story we are trying to tell - Christmas - and then provide the historical context along the way.
And starting with the historical / theological / history of salvation has the unintentional effect of making the story we are wanting to tell seem like nothing more than a foretold, logical conclusion - a prepared script for actors on a stage - and not the flesh and blood seizing - or passing up - actual in-the-moment opportunities for God's will to be on earth as it is in heaven. Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the Magi become cardboard cut-outs instead of real people who made real - and very difficult - choices.
And so I have stopped using the Lectionary.
I tell the Christmas story early and often. And I start singing Christmas carols in church as soon as the malls start playing them to accompany the Christmas sale announcements.
I vary my choices somewhat from year to year, but roughly here are the lessons I use, along with a link to an Adobe PDF document for Advent Candle Lighting based on that day's text. (The document is formatted to be a half-page insert 5.5 by 8.5 inches.):
And yes, we do re-read these passages on Christmas Eve in their Lectionary appointed hour.
And of course, reading the prophets alongside the above - or even as a focus for one Sunday - also enriches, deepens, and speaks to the longing-yet-to-be-fully-fulfilled which abides in our hearts as it did in Mary.
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