I’m taking a pause today in our Fervent Prayer series to talk about Advent. It is December 1st, after all. If you missed my post on how we are taking a new approach to Christmas this year, you can find it here.
So what is advent? Well, first – I’ll tell you what it’s not. It’s not a cardboard kit purchased from the grocery store with little doors numbered and chocolates hidden behind each one. I know I just lost most of you with that. Hear me out- I love chocolate too. But this is not a post about chocolates.
By definition – it is the arrival of a noteable person, thing, or event. But I think I like what Wikipedia says about it even more… A season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is a version of the Latin word meaning “coming”.
I love the thought of this – this expectation of Jesus’ arrival. Just like they were expectant of the baby King to be born, we can be expectant of Jesus’ second coming and return to get his children. So in thinking about the whole “Reason for the Season”… Advent is a good way to keep the focus on Jesus.
For me, as a parent, this is the most important thing I can ever teach my children. So I’ve decided not to do a chocolate count down for Christmas with my kids, but instead we are doing an Advent count down to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. I love this one because it has a different Christmas song to listen to each day and then a few scriptures to read to prepare for Christmas. It was super simple to make. I printed the cards, cut them out, placed number stickers on the back of each one (from Target’s dollar spot or whatever that area is called these days). I attached them to twine we already had with mini clothespins and tacked it on the wall in our hallway. Easy peasy.
For myself, I have two studies I will share with you if you’re looking for an idea of something to prepare your heart.
The first is a Journal and Doodle Study by Kari Denker. I absolutely love her journal and doodle studies, and I will just tell you – I am certainly no artist. But I do love adding in the doodles, whether I’m tracing hers into my journal or drawing the simple stick figures myself. She’s also a great writer and her studies are theologically sound. The Advent study focuses on the Old Testament prophecies and how they are fulfilled in the New Testament. There’s also a kids version that goes along with it with coloring pages and a countdown advent page where your children can match the prophecy and color the appropriate doodle to countdown to Christmas.
For example… Day one’s prophecy is from Genesis 3:15.
God has always had a plan. He is a God who seeks those He created and longs to have a relationship with us. No sin ever changed that. When sin entered the picture, God already had a plan to remove it from us as far as the east is from the west!
-Write out the first promise of the world’s Savior from Genesis 3:15. You can enclose it in a cloud or starburst to show it was a promise from God. Under that, draw a bitten apple or a snake or something clever that will help you remember at first glance what this prophecy is about.
-Next, write out some of the fulfillment verses. This prophecy is fulfilled is shown in John 1:14, John 3:16, Roman 16:20, Galatians 4:45, and of course, others too because this is Jesus!
-Write out your thoughts about what this shows you about God. What does it teach you about His sovereignty and His love?
The second is Preparing My Heart for Christmas Challenge Course by Heather Bowen. This is a Free, online course this year so you can go through it at your own pace. It’s got a printable journal you can use along with it. Each day there is a video message from Heather that explains the word or thought for the day. There are scripture readings and a prayer prompt. Weekends have some Thoughts to Ponder, Faith in Action, and Christmas Prep.
Day one’s scriptures from the course are Matthew 1:23, Galatians 4:4, and 1 Corinthians 3:16. The video reflection reminds us to prepare our hearts for Christmas, even as we are busy getting everything done on our shopping and Christmas task lists. The word to focus on today is Coming.
Dear Lord, as the busy Christmas season approaches, help me to remember that YOU are the reason for it all. God, hear my prayer today….
I pray that we can remember what it’s all about and have a blessed Christmas season and bless others too! Merry Christmas!