A sweet friend asked me recently why we celebrate Advent and what it means. Prior to becoming one with William, I already loved celebrating and focusing on Advent. But as much as I love celebrating it, my husband loves it even more! I asked him to answer the question too.
Why celebrate/focus on Advent according to me:
The literal dictionary definition of Advent is “the arrival of a notable person or thing.” It literally means something big is coming. There was a 500-year gap in biblical history where seemingly nothing was coming, but then Jesus did and changed everything! We celebrate Advent to remind us of how HUGE it is that Jesus came. Christmas easily becomes about everything else but Jesus, but celebrating Advent puts our focus and celebration where it should be.
Why celebrate/focus on Advent according to William:
What is advent?
Advent Season is defined as the 4 Sundays that lead up to Christmas. This year it begins on Sunday, Dec 3rd, then is Dec 10th, 17th, and 24th.
Advent has two purposes:
1. To remember the first coming of Christ.
2. To prepare for the second coming of Christ.
The Lord tells us time and time again in the Old and New Testament to remember or look back to what the Lord has done for us, to remember his provision and goodness. So it is in that spirit that we remember when Christ came and entered into our world to offer us true freedom from sin and the defeat of death. We remember His goodness, cling to the promise that He is coming again for us, and wait expectantly for Him to return, just like He said He would.
In my opinion, in our busy over commercialized Holiday Spectacular that we now call Christmas, the modern day believer desperately needs the Advent season now more than ever to focus our heart’s affection and our mind’s attention to the true meaning of Christmas, remembering that Christ came into the world for us and to remind ourselves that He is coming back.
We do this in our home by our Advent daily devotional from She/He Reads Truth and by using the Advent wreath.
The Advent wreath is an evergreen wreath with four candles that form a circle, with a fifth candle in the middle. You light a candle on each of the Sundays of Lent and light the fifth candle on ChrisEves eve, it is the Christ Candle. This practice is not found in the Bible. It was developed by Lutheran believers as a way for them to celebrate and remember Christ at Christmas, as a way to make sure that believers had a tangible way to remember and honor Christ.
Candles and light have long been used in worship because Christ is the Light that has come into the world. The Holy Spirit is seen as a fire. And God spoke to Moses through the burning bush.
The greenery used is evergreen, symbolizing life that never ends. The circle also symbolizes this, a life that never ends.
Some churches remember different aspects for Christ’s life and ministry on each Sunday, or focus on a different point in Christian history.
An Advent wreath is just a tool, a tool used to remember and focus on Christ, so that we do not miss Him during Christmas season.
If we, as believers, are not careful, we can miss Christ in the Christmas season. It is easy to focus on shopping lists, holiday events, dinners, and even our favorite Christmas specials on tv. We need to be slowed. We need to take time away to focus. We need to remember that Christ came for us. We need to pause each day and remember what Christ did for us and worship Him. We need to give Him His rightful glory and honor.
Something is coming! It’s the Advent season, a time to focus on and remember that God’s plan was always for Jesus to come and change EVERYTHING. It’s not too late to order an Advent study!
As mentioned by hubs, we do the She Reads Truth/He Reads Truth ones (they have stuff for the whole family and you can also read along for free on their website). But there are others!
Here’s a few I know about, but I’m certain there are many more.
- All Good Things Collective Advent Devotional (mainly for women I think)
- Sacred Holidays Advent Devotionals (stuff for the whole family)
- A Child is Born Advent Study
- One True Gift Daily Advent Readings by Tim Chester
- The Wonder of the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp (an interactive one to do as a family)
- Good News of Great Joy Daily Advent Readings by John Piper (2013 – for purchase or downloadable for free)
- Unwrapping the Name of Jesus
- Come Let Us Adore Him Advent Devotional
- The Dawning of Indestructible Joy Daily Advent Readings by John Piper (2014)
- Waiting Here for You (An Advent Journey of Hope) by Louie Giglio
Prepare for remembering the coming of Jesus! Set the table. Make a plan. Don’t let the holiday season pass you by with just to-do lists and parties and gift wrapping. Make the most of what this season is supposed to be. (And eat some Christmas cookies and drink some hot cocoa while you do it!)