What Your Rector Wants For Christmas (UPDATED 2020)

I have a unique position in the church today. I used to be a Rector of a large church in North Dallas. (Christ Church in Plano, TX). But I am no longer a Rector. Instead, I have the good fortune to hang out, teach, coach, and encourage a lot of Rectors. During this challenging year, most of this has been […]

By |2020-12-23T16:15:51-06:00December 14th, 2020|Categories: Miscellaneous, Opinion|Tags: , |0 Comments

12 Challenges of the Christmas Eve Service

Even if your shopping is complete and the gifts are wrapped, the pastor knows that there is one more thing to do before Christmas morning. Hold Christmas Eve Services.

Whether you are preaching, celebrating the Eucharist, leading the prayers, singing the carols, handing out bulletins, or greeting people at the door, it is a big moment in the annual life cycle […]

By |2020-12-23T16:16:54-06:00December 13th, 2020|Categories: For Pastors, Leadership|Tags: , , |0 Comments

The “Perfect” Christmas Eve Sermon??

Christmas Eve is rough on preachers; at least for this one.

The atmosphere for a truly great sermon is all there: scenery, families, music, lighting, Scripture, attendance, joy, and a holy hope in every heart and on every face. But my Christmas Eve sermons (33 and counting) are never equal to this setting. They always seem weak […]

By |2020-12-14T16:49:55-06:00December 12th, 2020|Categories: For Pastors, History, Preaching|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

Advent: A Rookie Anglican Guide (UPDATED 2020)

(Note: Anglican Compass has a book about Advent! Check out A Thrill of Hope: Celebrating Advent at Home [Revised and Expanded for 2020], by Ashley Wallace!)


What is Advent?

Advent is the first season of the Church year. It lasts for four weeks leading up […]

By |2021-01-07T14:17:06-06:00November 23rd, 2020|Categories: Anglicanism, Church Year|Tags: , , |1 Comment

We Need Advent Now More Than Ever! Celebrating Advent in 2020

Today I found myself completely distracted by my little robot vacuum. (We call him “Eufy.”) While I should have been helping the kids with their homeschooling, I found myself increasingly frustrated by his sense of aimlessness. 

All I wanted was for Eufy to clean the kitchen. With four teenagers in the house all day, that […]

By |2021-02-27T10:54:34-06:00November 23rd, 2020|Categories: Church Year|Tags: |1 Comment

10 Things I Bet You Didn’t Know About Advent. Some of Them Will Make You Hungry!

Years ago I started researching a book about celebrating Advent. I learned so many things along the way! Here are ten of my favorite unusual discoveries about Advent.

1) Plum pudding has zero plums in it and sits in your cupboard for five weeks! 

In England and Ireland, plum pudding […]

By |2021-01-07T14:17:19-06:00November 18th, 2020|Categories: Church Year|Tags: |0 Comments

What NOT to Get Your Rector (Or Their Spouse) for Christmas!

I have been having fun writing about some gift ideas for Rectors and their Spouses. I served as a Rector for over 30 years and spend a lot of time now with Rectors and their families.

I know that many laypeople want to get the Rector and their Spouse a gift for Christmas to show their love and appreciation. […]

By |2020-12-14T16:44:06-06:00December 19th, 2019|Categories: Miscellaneous, Opinion|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Let John Chrysostom Preach His Nativity Sermon the Sunday after Christmas

Several years ago, I served as the Assistant Rector at a large Anglican Church. This meant, of course, that I had the wonderful opportunity of preaching cultural holiday weekends when attendance would be predictably low … i.e. Memorial Day Weekend, Labor Day Weekend, etc.

One of the key weekends that I always got to preach was the First Sunday of Christmas. […]

By |2020-12-14T16:43:42-06:00December 13th, 2019|Categories: Church Year, Opinion, Preaching|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

Saint Lucy’s Day: A Rookie Anglican Guide

Flickering candles, hot coffee, and saffron buns. This Scandinavian Advent tradition has its roots in the story of a 3rd-century martyr who brought light and aid to Christian saints in hiding.

(Note: To learn more about Advent and how to celebrate it at home with family and friends, read A Thrill of Hope: Celebrating Advent at Home by Ashley Wallace! […]

By |2020-10-27T10:37:37-05:00December 12th, 2019|Categories: Church Year|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Go to the Nearby Wilderness This Advent

In the middle of Advent, we encounter John the Baptist in the desert. In fact, every year, Anglicans devote half of Advent to the prophet of the wilderness, John the Baptist.

Yes, Lent is the most obvious wilderness season of the Church’s year—a full 40 days and then some to seek the Lord in the desert with prayer and […]

By |2020-10-27T10:11:30-05:00December 12th, 2019|Categories: Church Year|Tags: |0 Comments

What is Advent? (Excerpt from “A Thrill of Hope” by Ashley Wallace)

The following is an excerpt from A Thrill of Hope: Celebrating Advent at Home (Revised and Expanded for 2020) by Ashley Wallace.


What is Advent?

All of Scripture is a sacred love story, the love of God the Father for His people. It is a story filled with expectation, longing and fulfillment.

From the beginning, God has lovingly walked with us, called […]

By |2020-10-26T06:57:17-05:00November 29th, 2019|Categories: Church Year|Tags: |0 Comments

What They Are Saying about “A Thrill of Hope” by Ashley Wallace!

The following is Tai French’s review of A Thrill of Hope: Celebrating Advent at Home by Ashley Wallace.

If you, like Tai, enjoy A Thrill of Hope, would you please leave a 5-star review on Amazon? It’s the best, easiest way to get the word out about the book!


A brief and delightful read, A Thrill of […]

By |2020-10-26T06:58:45-05:00November 27th, 2019|Categories: Miscellaneous|Tags: , , |0 Comments

5 Practical Suggestions for Doing Advent Devotions with Your Children

I had an idea, and it was a great idea!

My family was going to do something new that year. Every night, we were going to sit down at the dining room table and do Advent devotions together.

I could already see how the night was going to go in […]

By |2020-10-27T10:30:24-05:00November 26th, 2019|Categories: Church Year, Daily Office & Prayer|Tags: , |2 Comments

Advent for Exiles: When the Holidays Aren’t Happy

The American Dream

In the American imagination, the “holiday season”—that stretch of weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas—is a magical one. It calls to mind beautifully decorated tables and the nearness of loved ones. It is shrouded in soft light and comes with the promise of fulfilled longing.

Whether we carry childish hope for the ultimate gift from Santa— like the horse I […]

By |2020-10-27T09:47:04-05:00November 25th, 2019|Categories: Church Year|Tags: |1 Comment

Try These 3 “Las Posadas” Recipes This Advent!

Want more Advent recipes, devotions, and traditions to try at home? Check out A Thrill of Hope: Celebrating Advent at Home (Revised and Expanded for 2020)!


Picture this. Every evening during the last nine days before Christmas, a great crowd forms in the village streets.

A small child dressed as an angel leads the figures of Joseph, Mary, and the donkey. […]

By |2020-10-27T10:32:23-05:00November 21st, 2019|Categories: Church Year|Tags: , |1 Comment

My Top 4 Favorite Family Advent Traditions

Advent is one of my favorite seasons. As a person who did not grow up celebrating Advent, I have absolutely fallen in love with it. Advent is beautiful and holy and full of hope!

(If you’d like to read more why you should follow the Church calendar in your home this Advent, you can read my previous post here.)

At first, […]

By |2020-10-27T10:15:39-05:00November 11th, 2019|Categories: Church Year|Tags: |11 Comments

Why You Should Follow the Church Calendar with Your Family at Home This Advent

“For everything there is a season” (Ecclesiastes 3:10)—I am sure you know the verse well. We are all familiar with it, and yet it is so often misused.

People will often quote the verse in response to a bad thing that has happened or a hard time that you are going through. But if you look back at the verses in […]

By |2020-10-27T10:14:19-05:00November 6th, 2019|Categories: Church Year|Tags: |2 Comments

How to Practice an Advent “Calendar Fast”

“I’m sorry, I won’t be able to make it. I have other plans on the calendar.”

It’s an ordinary exchange between friends throughout the year, a response that occurs more frequently in December given holiday parties, concerts, and family gatherings. Most people understand and respect the need for boundaries with personal and family calendars, especially in December.

But what if you established […]

By |2020-10-27T10:12:19-05:00December 13th, 2018|Categories: Anglicanism, Church Year|Tags: |0 Comments

The Key Difference Between the Similar Seasons of Advent and Lent

Purple Seasons of Preparation

About ten Sundays a year, purple vestments and altar hangings adorn sanctuaries in Anglican churches.

Purple signals the season of Advent and the beginning of a new Christian year, either the last Sunday of November or the first Sunday in December. Then follow the seasons of Christmastide, Epiphany, and the season after Epiphany. Purple returns on Ash Wednesday […]

By |2019-01-13T17:59:55-06:00December 6th, 2018|Categories: Anglicanism, Church Year|Tags: , |1 Comment

The War on Advent

You have heard of the supposed War on Christmas. But the real war is not about whether retailers use the word Christmas during December or not. In fact, it is not even the Christmas season until Christmas day anyway.

The real war is happening in many American churches. It’s not a war on Christmas, its a war on Advent, and I […]

By |2020-12-23T16:13:21-06:00December 5th, 2018|Categories: Anglicanism, Church Year, Opinion|Tags: |23 Comments

What They Are Saying About Advent

No doubt, you have plenty of resources for your church during Advent. Still, I thought you might benefit from this little quote collection I compiled during sermon preparation and study over the years. I wish you a blessed beginning to this season of expectancy. Enjoy!

(Note: To learn more about Advent and how to observe it at home with family and […]

By |2020-10-27T10:39:49-05:00December 2nd, 2018|Categories: Anglicanism, Church Year|Tags: , |6 Comments

The Incarnation: What is It? Why Does it Matter?

This post is a part of Rookie Anglican, a blog dedicated to Making Anglicanism Accessible. It was first preached as a sermon by Fr. Steven Lanclos on January 3, 2018 at Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd in Pelham, AL.


That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which […]

By |2020-12-14T16:46:13-06:00January 4th, 2018|Categories: Anglicanism, Theology|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

The Fourth Sunday in Advent; Annunciation, A Collect Reflection

This post, in addition to being a part of Rookie Anglican, is part of a series on the Collects of the Christian Year (ACNA), called “Collect Reflections.” If you’re just jumping in, make sure to check out the introductory post, “Announcing Collect Reflections.” All Collect Reflection posts can be found here.


Collect for the Fourth Sunday of […]