Early dawn peeks in through a crack between the window curtains; you roll over and pull the covers over your head. You don’t want to get out of bed, but then your heart flutters and your breath catches — It’s Christmas morning! You’re up out of bed in a flash, running down the hall in your snowman jammies and sock feet thinking, Did Santa come? Are there presents yet? You shout through the house, “Momma! Momma! Wake up it’s Christmas morning!”
Remember what Christmas was like as a child? The wonder, the excitement, the joy of it all? Something so greatly anticipated and looked forward to — what kid hasn’t uttered the phrase “I can’t wait for Christmas!” at least once in their life?
For many kids, Christmas is mostly about presents. Well, it’s that way for many adults, too. Sadly for some people, children and adults alike, Christmas holds no joy at all. Perhaps their experiences with Christmases past has let them down. Perhaps they have no one to celebrate with. Perhaps for many of them, they do not truly understand what joy the holiday really holds.
Though many at the time did not recognize the birth of Jesus for what it was, there were some, who by the supernatural grace of God, saw in this tiny babe the fulfillment of God’s promises to his people. They, like Mary, exclaimed “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!”
But the story doesn’t end there; prophecy tell us that Jesus is coming again in the final fulfillment of all God’s promises. Unfortunately, many of us are not eagerly awaiting that day, basking in the joy of expectation. As a whole people, we have forgotten; individually, many of us have never known. Even myself, though I have always known that there is a promised 2nd coming, feel poorly knowledgeable and inadequately mindful of it. And it’s to this end that I choose to celebrate Advent with my family. Advent, meaning “coming” which celebrates both the coming of the infant savior and the expected 2nd coming of our Savior King.
The King is Coming!
Advent, beginning the Sunday after Thanksgiving and lasting through Christmas for some and the day of Epiphany for others, is a season of preparing our hearts for the coming of our king – both on Christmas morning (for the purpose of an intentional Christ-centered celebration) and also as a reminder that He will soon be coming again. Advent is an opportunity to train the young hearts of our children to set their eyes on the true joys of Christmas, to seek fulfillment in the things that really matter, and how to enjoy giving and receiving gifts out of love and fellowship without falling prey to materialism, greed, jealousy or envy. Advent is an opportunity to spend more time with your family, intentionally enjoying each other, praising God and worshiping Him. Advent is an opportunity to build wonderful family traditions and memories together.
Won’t you join me in making this Advent season a truly memorable, worshipful, joyous and Christ-centered celebration?
To help you get started on your Advent journey, check out these resources:
- Online Resources for the Season of Advent – tons of links here!
- The Adventure of Christmas: Helping Children Find Jesus in Our Holiday Traditions
- Watch For The Light: Readings For Advent And Christmas
So what do you need to do right now?
If you haven’t already, set up for your family an Advent candle wreath. You can purchase these, or you can create your own. We often do our own grouping of little jar candles. You can purchase tapers and little taper holders and arrange them among a bed of pine needles – whatever you want. For instructions on setting up and using your wreath, read this tutorial.
Next you need to decide on a reading schedule (nightly or weekly) and choose a set of readings. You can find some reading resources at the list of online resources linked above, in this post, or you can google “advent readings” and find many resources that way. Nevermind that Advent began yesterday. Begin today! (We are.)
Most importantly, remember that Advent is not a season of legalism and piosity. Advent is a time to embrace the joys of the season, the love of our family, the promise of our king and the many blessings that God has bestowed on us, while keeping Christ the center of our hearts’ affections.
Oh if we could all look at Christmas, celebrating the birth of our savior together with our family, with the same joy and expectation as the little child who so vigorously throws back the covers and runs to discover what bounty Santa left beneath the tree?!
And yet we can, we should, if it we remember the greatest gift ever, birthed beneath the stars and hung upon the most hideous and beautiful tree ever.
God. Is. Good.
In the many weeks ahead I’ll be sharing some great resources and ideas for how to do this with your family, regardless of your family size, age, etc. To review last years Advent series and see what’s in store for this year, you can refer back to yesterday’s post. I also have two carousels in the sidebars, one with my top picks for Advent resources and one with my top pics for Christmas books. Enjoy!
Say it with me: “The King is Coming!”
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