With the Christmas season knocking on our doors, it’s time to think about how you’ll celebrate Advent. Here’s a quick guide to help you plan your Christmas season now.
What is Advent?
The word comes from the Latin word “adventus,” which means coming or visit. For us, Advent is the season leading up to Christmas where we wait and prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ birth.
When is Advent?
Advent starts the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day. So, in 2021, that means Advent begins Sunday, Nov. 28 and ends on Christmas Eve.
Why celebrate Advent?
There’s nothing in the Bible that’s specific to celebrating Advent, but it is a chance to prepare our hearts and minds for Christmas Day. It makes me think of the line from “O Little Town of Bethlehem” that says “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”
Advent is four weeks to gather up all our hopes and fears, all our ponderings like Mary in Luke 2 and take them to Jesus. It’s a chance to marvel at what the coming of Jesus means for us. And, here’s some good news! Advent is also a season of looking forward to the day when Jesus will come again and make all things new! In Revelation 21:5, Jesus’ words are recorded as this: “And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’”
These words are trustworthy and true. THAT is why we celebrate Advent!
How can I celebrate Advent?
I’m so glad you asked because I’ve got more good news: there’s no one right way to mark the season. Here are a few suggestions.
Light candles – In the church I grew up in, we lit candles every Sunday, but I didn’t remember the significance of any of them until I researched it. You can do the same with a quick google, but I’ll go ahead and tell you that each of the four candles represents a part of the Advent season. You could light candles at home as you read your devotional or even just at night to remind yourself that Jesus is the Light of the World.
Read Scripture/an Advent Devotional – There are some phenomenal books and resources out there. To be sure, the list is long, but here are a few to help you get started:
She Reads Truth/He Reads Truth – Both websites have a free Advent study, The Everlasting Light, that you can read every day. The five-week experience features daily Scripture reading that traces the theme, Everlasting Light, throughout the Bible, along with a devotional to accompany the Scripture.
Waiting Here for You by Louie Giglio – This book carries the message of the season: God works while we wait. This book is an invitation to an Advent journey of hope that will help you understand that waiting is not wasting when you’re waiting on the Lord.
Honest Advent by Scott Erickson – Do you feel weary from the way the Christmas season has become so polished and predictable? Honest Advent is 25 days of illustrations and meditations that will help you rekindle the wonder of the season.
The Dawning of Indestructible Joy by John Piper – This book includes 25 brief devotional readings that begin December 1 and carry you to Christmas Day in the hopes that they help deepen and sweeten your adoration of Jesus.
Who Is This Jesus? – Last year the Christ Chapel staff wrote an Advent devotional series, “Who Is This Jesus?” that spends 20 days looking at the different names Jesus is given in the Bible. It’s a beautiful guide and you can click here to read it this year!
Pick up an Advent calendar — Advent calendars are available everywhere these days and offer all kinds of treats. This could be a fun option for families as you count down to Christmas together.
However you decide to mark this Advent season, your time will not be wasted as you look to Jesus. Let’s adore Him, let’s marvel at how His coming changed everything and how He’ll change everything once again one day soon. Glory to God in the highest, truly. May our hopes and fears be met in You, Jesus, once again this Christmas.