Get into the true holiday spirit—celebrate Advent!

wreathChristmas is coming! For most of us, that means more than a little stress: there are presents to buy, family get-togethers to plan or attend, holiday traffic to contend with. For most of the “Christmas season,” it’s hard to find time to stop and take a deep breath, let alone ponder the spiritual significance of the holiday. It’s easy to put off quiet meditation and worship until Christmas Day itself—and even then, you’ll be lucky to get in a few hours of quiet before the relatives show up for the big Christmas dinner.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Christmas is a celebration of a world-changing event—the birth of Jesus Christ. If we put off thinking about the meaning of Christmas until December 25, we rob ourselves of a chance to experience the peace and joy of the Christmas story.

That’s why we’re inviting you to join us throughout December in celebrating not just Christmas Day, but the season of Advent. The season of Advent is a time of waiting, of quiet anticipation, of growing joy as we look ahead to the birth of the Christ-child. It’s a radical, countercultural invitation to set aside holiday stress and focus on what’s really important.

Throughout the month, we’ll be posting resources to help you celebrate Advent and explore the mystery and joy of Christ’s birth. Today, we have a few items to introduce you to Advent and explain why it’s important.

First, when was the last time you read the original Christmas story in the Bible? Why relegate this amazing story to the Christmas Day church service? What better way to kick off the Advent season than to spend a bit of time re-reading the original story, starting with the angel’s first visit to Mary with the news?

Once you’ve re-familiarized yourself with the Christmas story, these resources will help you explore the real significance of Jesus’ birth.

  • What’s the point of Advent, exactly? Betsy Childs provides an excellent short explanation of the Advent season.
  • If you’ve decided to celebrate Advent this year, an article by Bruce Nygren describes the ancient customs surrounding Advent and offers some ideas for how you can celebrate Advent today—including week-by-week activities and Bible readings you can do throughout December.
  • For a more thorough exploration of the season, Into Thy Word Ministries has an essay that explains each of the different elements of Advent, including the meaning of the Advent candles, the verses associated with each day of the Advent season, the significance of the Advent wreath, and more.
  • Scripture Union has put together a daily Advent reading guide to bring you all the way to Christmas. You can read it online or sign up to have each day’s reading emailed to you.

As Advent rolls on, we’ll feature more resources to help you get in the spirit of the season. Hopefully these materials will give you a good introduction to the season—and get you thinking about ways you can cut down on holiday stress and spend more time in quiet contemplation this December. Merry Christmas to you—and a blessed Advent season!

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