What Is Advent (Why Advent)
I don't know about you, but I never really celebrated advent growing up. Occasionally, my family would read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, but our main tradition was watching the Muppets Christmas Carol (still one of the best Christmas movies out there).
As I've gotten older, I've still never subscribed to the "classic" Advent celebration, but I've definitely grown to appreciate it.
The Purpose of Advent
Like many Christian traditions, the purpose of advent is to prepare our hearts for this season as we celebrate Jesus' birth. Advent literally means "the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event," and in this case, we are preparing the arrival of the most notable person and important event in history: Emmanuel, God with us.
This season is for us to slow down, step outside of ourselves and our busy lives, and remind ourselves the true message and celebration of Christmas.
Although the purpose stays the same, there are so many different advent practices such as fasting, candle lighting and specific advent wreaths, but the most popular one (in my opinion) is to have a series of devotionls leading up to Christmas.
The most popular advent devotional style is to have a specific reading or devotional on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas Day. Usually these Sundays take on specific themes such as Prophecies of Jesus, The Shepherds at His Birth, etc.
However, many other devotional sytles are frequent such as daily devotionals following the Christmas story, and other themes that fullfill the purpose of pointing us to Jesus and preparing our hearts to celebrate Christmas as the day Jesus entered into the world to be our sacrifice - rather than making the day merely a celebration of family, friends and gift-giving.
This Devotional's Structure
I've read multiple advent devotionals (and I actually plan on still reading one this year, even though I'm also writing my own).
But, if you would like to walk through this season with me, I'll be writing a daily devotional from today through Christmas day - specifically covering 3 themes/topics:
- God's Plan. We'll walk through looking at how God has orchestrated many things in history, all to lead up to Jesus' birth - and He's not done yet.
- The Isaiah 9:6 passage that is famously known from the song "Handel's Messiah" (you can check out a choir singing the classic part of the song at this link)
- The Christmas story beginning with John 1, and then walking through from when Mary first heard the news from the Angel till when the Three Wise Men came a couple years later.
Draw Near To Jesus This Season
Christmas time seems to bring out a desire to reconnect with God, and I encourage you to do the same. But don't let this be simply a yearly occurance - let this be a starting point, a launching pad, for you to continue seeking God throughout the year. Jesus may have entered the world as a baby at a specific time, but He is here year-round and He desires you to seek Him and know Him and have Him be the Lord and Savior of your life 24/7.
I look forward to these next couple weeks, and I hope you do as well.