Sunday, December 1, is the first day of Advent this year. If you regularly read my blog, you know that Advent is a big thing for me- so much so that I write a devotional every year to share with anyone who wants to participate in the season with me.
I get a lot of questions about what Advent is. Some of my Christian friends have asked, “If we do Christmas, why do we need to do Advent?”
I don’t come from a liturgical church background so I didn’t grow up in a home or church where Advent was observed. I had the same questions. Until one year, Advent helped me to “find” Christmas.
Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love it! But what I discovered many years ago is that Christmas never seemed to meet all of my expectations. I wanted more- more meaning, more connection with Jesus, more connection with friends and family. So I kept adding activities hoping to find that “more,” that elusive “Christmas spirit,” until I eventually just gave up. Even though I went through the motions of the holiday- and enjoyed every bit of it- deep inside, there was a bit of cynicism in my spirit.
Until I began observing Advent as part of my Christmas celebration.
In a past blog, I talked about how Advent is the season of preparing for Jesus to come. We prepare to celebrate His first Advent as a baby, and we prepare our hearts to receive Him at His second Advent when He returns for His people.
During Advent, the challenge I make for myself is to spend at least an hour- a solid, uninterrupted hour- dwelling on Christ. Hearing from Him through His Word, honoring Him through Worship, and having fellowship with Him through prayer.
Through this practice, Jesus Himself has become the desire of my heart. He fulfills me, He strengthens me, He touches me with His presence at times when I’ve forgotten that I’m never alone. He reminds me of His beauty and His mercy. He reminds me of His desire to be united with me at His return.
Through observing this time of Advent year after year, Jesus has become Christmas to me in a way He never was before. He has shown Himself to be the Wondrous Gift in my life. I can enjoy the decorations, the lights, the music, with more joy, more peace, and more hope- because my heart is in constant preparation to meet Him
Whether you use my book or another, I hope you will take the opportunity to observe the season of Advent this year. I know you will be blessed.