Advent is a time of the year we can spend in devotion and reflection, awaiting the arrival of Christmas. While time take time to focus on the what it was like for Mary and Joseph to prepare for Jesus, we can also prepare our hearts, homes, and communities for the second coming of Christ. While there are many different views on how He will return, we can all look forward to that glorious day when Jesus comes back. Will you share the news with close family members like Mary did with Elisabeth (Luke 1:37-41)? Will you spend time searching for signs like the wise men (Matthew 2:1-2)? Will you warn the masses like John the Baptist (Matthew 3:1-3)? Focus on the nativity story, to see the hope of the future glory, as well as the awe and wonder of God becoming man to pay our sin debt and set us free.
As we enter into the advent season, there are many ways you can get your heart and home ready for the Christmas season. You could get into an advent devotional like Unwrapping the Names of Jesus or The Advent Storybook.
While your children may be anxiously awaiting Christmas to open up presents, you could also help them focus on the bigger picture of Christmas and celebrate the glory of Jesus coming to earth. Count down the days of Christmas with your family using and advent calendar like the Happy Birthday Jesus Advent Calendar, or you could go with a more traditional Cloth Advent Calendar. No matter which advent calendar you use, or even if you make one at home, you can bring your family together to count down the days until Christmas, while also reflecting on the Christmas story along the way.
Many churches use the tradition of the advent candles, lighting a different candle each week in anticipation of Christmas. The candles could symbolize the four stages of history preparing the way for the Messiah such as the grace shown to Adam and Eve after the fall, the faith of Abraham and the patriarchs, the joy of David whose lineage brings about the Messiah, and the prophets who proclaim His arrival. The candles could also convey four stages of human history: creation, incarnation, redemption of sins, and the final judgment. Another symbol of the candles could be the Prophet’s candle representing hope, the Bethlehem candle representing faith, the Shepherd’s candle representing joy, and the Angel’s candle representing peace. If you want to carry on the tradition of advent candles in your home or church, you could go with a more contemporary take on the advent candle display, or go with a more traditional advent wreath, or candle holder.
However, you celebrate advent this year, take the time to remember what this season is all about. We can celebrate that Jesus came to earth, and even more than that, we can celebrate that He’s still with us today (Matthew 28:20). What advent traditions do you like to uphold in your home, and how will you honor the season of advent this year?