Monday, November 24, 2008

Don't Forget Advent!

Since Thanksgiving falls so late this year, you may be like me, and not realized that the Advent season is quick to follow. This Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent, as a matter of fact! Whether or not you rigidly follow the liturgical calendar that gives us these dates, I think you'd agree that it's incredibly important to be intentional about focusing on Christ and his incarnation during this season! If we don't go into the Christmas season with PLANS and INTENTIONS of focusing our time and hearts on Christ, then we surely won't.

What is Advent? Quite simply, it is "waiting for Christ to come". That is the way I try to focus on it with children, talking about waiting on Jesus, to create a longing for Jesus in their hearts. The obvious fruit of this is longing for Jesus' return to earth! So our thinking on Christ and his 1st advent, should also remind us that He will come again!

Josh and I typically celebrate the Sundays of Advent similar to the style Noel Piper describes in her book Treasuring God in Our Traditions. (The link I've posted allows you to read the book for free on line if you wish). We light a candle each week by our Nativity and have a special time of reading Old and New Testament passages on the coming of Christ. If you're interested in doing something every day (say with children, so the countdown seems more frequent), I'd recommend Christ in Christmas which is a compilation of scripture, songs, and readings for each day during Advent. Sundays are special in this book, though, and there is more, including a prayer for these days. We have not been able to keep this book in stock! It is excellent, and I think it might be going out of print, but you can still get a used copy.

Don't you love listening to Christmas music? Maybe you are strict about not pulling it out yet, but plan now to listen to rich, Christ-centered worshipful Christmas music to draw your heart toward Christ. I love it that my friends at Sojourn are making this CD available at a price anyone can afford. Another one of my favorite Christmas CDs is Incarnation featuring Kristyn Getty. The prologue of Kristyn reading John 1 is so stirring, and I love the originality of the songs.

Perhaps you have advent traditions you'd like to share here. I'm hoping many of you use these precious days to still your hearts and ponder the wonder of God becoming a man.


James and Christen said...

I am so with you! I have already been preparing. Today I started to choose which passages I will read with the kids on the Sundays. I have gotten out my homemade advent calendar, using Noel Pipers daily readings. I am putting together a little paper calender for each of the families with kids in our church. I am hoping that it will help them to focus more on Christ.

I have already started studying Luke for my devos, just to get my heart prepared to influence those around me.


You must check out the CD by Soverign Grace called "SAVIOR" it is their christmas CD and is great too. I must say though that I love Kristen Gettys verson on John 1. It challenged me so much last year and I have already listened to it a couple of times this year!

Thanks for your great post.

Love ya- Christen

Mandy said...

Great reminder Gret! I agree with the fact that we should have a plan and intention to keep Christ the center of the season. Especially when it comes to teaching our children.

Have a great Thanksgiving with the Niesler's!

Phyllis said...

I found your blog while searching for Advent ideas. I love the idea you shared last year! In fact, I just linked to it from our blog. :-)