“Advent is not the kind of ‘preparation’ that involves shopping and parties and cards. Such illusions of abundance disguise the true craving of our weary souls. Advent is preparation for the demands of newness that will break the tired patterns of fear in our daily lives.”

—An excerpt from Celebrating Abundance

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In Advent 2019, Presbyterians across the country are invited to join a denomination-wide book study on Walter Bruggemann’s Celebrating Abundance.

Using thoughtfully prepared small group and individual weekly study guides, Presbyterians will journey through Advent reflecting on themes of God’s abundance as revealed through the small details of faith stories—a cry in the wilderness, a teenage mother, a worn down stable and a promise of a new day.

Celebrating Abundance

We have chosen Celebrating Abundance as a denomination-wide book study for this season because each of Brueggemann’s daily reflections in this book are an invitation to see beyond the illusions of worldly extravagance and to embrace the true abundance readily available through Christ. In a world where fear and anxiety abound, Brueggemann calls us to believe in the in-breaking of the kingdom of God through Christ, who brings hope, joy, love and peace. He also calls us to action—to be bearers of these kingdom qualities and heralds of the newness that is both here and yet to come. At a time when it would be easy to slip into apathy, Brueggemann’s words, which are steeped in God’s love and care for us, inspire us to “do kingdom things we did not think we had in us” (5).

Book Cover Celebrating Abundance

Presbyterians Journeying Through Advent Together

The word Advent originates from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming.” During this season, we pause and look back at Christ’s coming into the world as a baby and we anticipate his coming again. We are invited to celebrate the unique in-between space of “already but not yet.” It is a space filled with the extravagant grace of God, and Advent is a time of learning to trust and live in to this gift of grace.

Walter Brueggemann’s daily reflections are an invitation to see beyond the illusions of worldly extravagance and to embrace the true abundance readily available through Christ. In a world where fear and anxiety abound, Brueggemann calls us to believe in the in-breaking of the kingdom of God through Christ, who brings hope, joy, love and peace. He also calls us to action—to be bearers of these kingdom qualities and heralds of the newness that is both here and yet to come. At a time when it would be easy to slip into apathy, Brueggemann’s words, which are steeped in God’s love for us, inspire us to “do kingdom things we did not think we had in us” (p. 5).

About Walter Brueggemann

Walter Brueggemann is an Old Testament scholar, author of more than 50 books and an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. He is a highly regarded Christian theologian, whose work on the Hebrew prophetic tradition and the prophetic imagination of the Church has forever changed the way that many Christians think about and live out their faith. His writing, which combines truth-telling with radical hope, is deeply rooted in scripture and calls us to become full participants in God’s unfolding story of justice and redemption for all.

How to Take Part

If you haven’t done so already, it is time to start gathering interest in your congregation to journey together through the book. There are three ways people can participate in Presbyterians Read:

  1. Solo—Get a copy of Celebrating Abundance and read the devotions each day;
  2. Small Group—Start or join a small group of people reading the daily devotions on their own but meeting to discuss what they’ve read once a week;
  3. Online in our Facebook Group—Read the devotions each day and join the discussion with other Presbyterians in our Facebook study group. All are welcome to join. The group is private and only the members in the group can see who’s in the group and what they post. Join the group here.

Study Guide Materials

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Additional Information

Order copies of the book through your favourite book retailer.

Presbyterians Read Advent Study Introduction: November 20, 2019
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. (Eastern)
Hosted by: Canadian Ministries
Presenter: Emily Hill, Education Program Coordinator

Advent begins Sunday, December 1 this year. Many people are seeking ways to make this Christ-centered time. The short but impactful devotions in this year’s Presbyterians Read book, Celebrating Abundance by Walter Brueggemann, will help to create a healthy rhythm of spiritual reflection throughout the season. In this webinar, Emily Hill, Christian Education Coordinator for Canadian Ministries, will be introducing the book and discussing how small group leaders can use the study guide she created to facilitate weekly discussion groups about the book. Whether you have already organized a small group or are thinking about starting one, please join us! There will be plenty of time for questions and conversation.

Register today.

We are open to suggestions about other materials that may be helpful to you or your congregation as we engage in this book study. If you have any ideas or questions about Presbyterians Read, please email Emily Hill, Education Coordinator for Canadian Ministries, at call or 1-800-619-7301, ext. 271.