For some Christians, Christmas is a frantic mix of family gatherings, secular celebrations with a special worship service on December 24. But what might it look like or Christians to recapture the sense of Christmas as a season of anticipation and celebration of the incarnation? 

In this episode, episcopal priest and Fresh Expressions pioneer Fr. Jon Davis will help you understand the traditional seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany and how they help Christians experience the reality of Emmanuel, God-With-Us. You will also get practical ideas for how you can take these liturgical practices beyond cathedrals and celebrate this season among families, house churches, dinner churches and other Fresh Expressions. 


Advent: Casting Aside Distractions

Advent, Christmas and Epiphany: Finding Missional Opportunities in The Cycle of Light

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Interview Summary

In our instant gratification culture, the Rev. Jon Davis, PhD, explains how embracing liturgical seasons like Advent can reconnect us with God’s story and realign our restless souls.

Jon brings decades of ministry experience plus doctoral studies exploring liturgy’s power to form disciples. For him, Advent offers a compelling invitation amid hurried holidays: “to walk to a different cadence.”

Longing for More in the Darkness 

For Jon, Advent is first a season of longing and preparation. While society rushes towards Christmas, Advent calls believers to patience, expectation, and a hope-filled waiting.

As Jon explains, “Advent focuses us on the second coming of Christ. As we ready to celebrate his first arrival, we set our hope on the full manifestation of God’s kingdom.”

“Advent is that season of longing…waiting with expectancy for the consummation of God’s kingdom.”

Prophetic Voices Crying Out

The voices of Isaiah and John the Baptist cry out during Advent, offering weary hearts a message of messianic hope.

For Jon, their ministries of preparing, proclaiming, and incarnating become our ministries too. We’re called to ready our hearts through repentance while heralding the kingdom’s imminent arrival. And by the Spirit’s work, “we bear the presence of Christ to the lost and broken.”

A Soul Cadence Apart from Chaos

Most of all, Jon sees Advent as a “cadence for the soul” – a metronome resetting us to God’s rhythm amid harried holidays and chronic busyness.

“Advent is almost like a tune up for my soul. I have to pay attention and think about things in a different way.”

Advent offers a compelling invitation to “walk to a different cadence,” realigning our souls through sacred seasons.

Reflection Questions

  1. What does it look like for you to wait with patience and hope during Advent?
  2. How can your community embrace Advent as a “different cadence” amid holiday busyness?
  3. What prophets’ voices might you need to listen to in this season of preparation?
  4. How can your church become a space of sacred waiting and expectancy?
  5. Who in your life needs to experience Christ’s presence borne through you this season?
  6. What might change by truly observing Advent’s call to patient, expectant preparation?
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Jeanette Staats
About the Author

Jeanette Staats

Jeanette has over 20 years of diverse experience in collegiate ministry, specializing in general oversight, staff coaching and development, children's ministry, and discipleship. She holds a B.A. in English with an emphasis in Professional Writing from Virginia Tech and a Graduate Certificate in Theological Studies from the John Leland Center for Theological Studies. She also serves on the board for The Ecclesia Network. Jeanette is an avid Hokie fan and rarely misses an opportunity to watch a collegiate sporting event.