By Brittany Rust
Christmas is a wonderful time of year when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It's more than twinkling lights, beautifully wrapped gifts, and cozy homes filled with parties. It's so much more than what we've made it over the years. At the heart of Christmas is the celebration of Christ's coming to Earth more than 2,000 years ago.
Advent is a time when this focus is placed back at the center of the season. The word, in fact, means "coming." It's the celebration of the coming of Christ centuries ago and the anticipation of the coming of Christ yet to be.
Advent takes place the 4 Sundays leading to Christmas with the first 2 Sundays focusing on his arrival already made and the last 2 Sundays focusing on his arrival to come. I can't think of a better way to embrace Christmas and prepare our hearts to glorify Jesus before anything else than taking this Advent journey together.
Advent begins in 2018 on Sunday, December 2nd which means it’s coming soon. For my family, this is a new tradition I am eager to adopt! To build into our holiday celebration. If it’s new to you and you’re unsure of how to incorporate it into your tradition, or even why you should, keep reading!
Advent can be celebrated in many different ways. There’s the four Sunday approach, or over the course of 25 days leading to Christmas. There’s the candles or the calendar. But let’s jump more into the why before the how.
Christmas can be such a busy time of the year and if we aren’t careful, we can easily lose perspective of what the season really is all about. Christmas becomes the parties, concerts, and presents instead of remembering the birth of our Savior. Advent helps bring the holidays back into perspective; its celebration narrows in on Christ. It’s a beautiful form of worship for the family.
Now that you know the why, you may wonder about the how. Although traditions vary, here are a few ideas to get you going. Of course, feel free to peruse the internet for more ideas!
Devotionals: There are many devotionals out there that will lead your family in Scripture readings focused on the coming of Christ. Some may be shorter and shared across 4 Sunday’s and some may be everyday. Here’s a free one from Lifeway that includes activities to engage the children!
Advent Wreath and/or Candles: This is a more traditional form of celebrating Advent and it revolves around lighting 4 candles—one each Sunday leading to Christmas. This can be an intimate way of remembering Christ. Wreaths and candles are easy to find and by singing a song or praying together while lighting the candle, it makes the moment honoring. Just be sure you do purple candles for week 1, 2, and 4. And a pink candle on the 3rd week.
Advent Calendar: This is a personal favorite of mine because it’s both a fun way to celebrate with kids and a great way to get into Scripture. Calendars are easy to find and come in a variety of styles like a house or Christmas tree. The idea is that on each day (some are 24 days and some are 25), a door is opened and inside is a little gift for the children. I like to place a piece of chocolate and a Bible verse about Jesus in each. This builds an excitement in the children’s heart leading up to Christmas (as we should all eagerly anticipate the second coming!) and sets our focus with Scripture.
This doesn’t include all the options of celebrating Advent but I do hope it provides some encouragement and inspiration for your holiday season. Whether you embrace the holiday or not, remember to keep your focus on Christ and celebrate his coming this season!
If you do celebrate Advent, we’d love to know how! Leave a comment below.