Friday, November 30, 2012

What is Advent?

A few months ago I participated in an online Bible study through Good Morning Girls and I loved it! 
Then I saw they were doing an Advent study which they claimed would prepare my heart for Christmas.  And it included family activities!  I've never done anything special to prepare my heart for Christmas, and now I have kids who need to know the true meaning of Christmas, so I decided to sign up.
But what exactly was Advent?
I'd heard the word "Advent" before, and I knew it was some sort of Christmas tradition involving candles and a countdown calendar, but that's it.  I had no idea what it was about.
I still don't know everything about it, but I think understand the important parts a little better now.
The Advent study began this week, but before it started Good Morning Girls shared a post titled What is "Advent" Anyway...  Perfect!
It explained that the word advent means "the waiting on the arrival of something important."  At Christmastime that 'something important' is, of course, Jesus.
But Advent isn't just a time to celebrate Jesus' birth, it's also a time to prepare for Christ's return.
The post went on to say that it is a time to see God "in our past, our future and our present," and that "Advent is a deep daily focus on Jesus."
There were also two vidoes that explained Advent even more in depth which I found very helpful.  One of them said that Advent is "expectant waiting, hopeful anticipation, and cheerful preparation."  The other said Advent is a time to feel great joy that Jesus came and that He's coming again!
I'm only four days into the study, but I know I'm already more excited and focused on "The Reason for the Season" than I ever have been before.  I've always known what Christmas was truly about, but I have never been this deeply focused.
Yesterday I read the daily scripture which was Jeremiah 33:14-15 -
" 'The days are coming,' declared the Lord, 'when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.
" 'In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David's line; he will do what is just and right in the land.
As I read I felt excited and hopeful about God's good promise!  About the righteous Branch!  About Jesus' impending arrival!
Then I laughed a little and thought, "Jesus already came!"
I felt like I was about to witness a miracle, but in reality I already have!  I'm already a part of that miracle - that good promise from God.  We all are!
I felt a little disappointed in myself for not having felt that excitement and hope before.  And not just at Christmastime, but every day of every year!
Because yes, our Savior did come, but there's still more to this story:  He's coming back.  Praise God!
I hope this makes you as excited as it makes me!
I encourage you to take part in Advent, whether you actually call it "Advent" or just "getting into the spirit of Christmas."  There are so many ways to observe Advent and to keep Jesus in the spotlight this Christmas.  And it's so easy to include your kids!
Tomorrow I'll share some ways to celebrate Advent, and most of them are kid-friendly, so check back soon!

1 comment:

  1. That's neat that you've discovered Advent. We celebrate Advent for the four weeks before Christmas with a Jesse Tree, and Advent Calendear (ours is a Nativity scene to which we add one element, until on Christmas Day we add baby Jesus), and an Advent Wreath. We then celebrate Christmas from Christmas Day to Epiphany on Jan 6. Advent is also a semi penitential time. You clean out your heart to prepare yourself to receive Jesus. It's a time to examine yourself and your life and make sure that you're ready for Jesus to return. I'm also very impressed that your study group recognizes the three fold element of Advent, the past, present, and future. The last word in the Bible is Maranatha, which depending on the where the emphasis is placed, can mean He came, He is come or He is coming. God exists in the eternal now, thus the Church does also, so we have the past, the present and the future all wrapped up in one. Advent is truly what it's all about! I think that holding off on the celebrations also heightens the suspense and excitement for the actual day. Instead of being a let down because it's the "end," Christmas becomes just the beginning of a season of celebration.