Advent: The arrival of a notable person.
Christian Theology = The coming of Christ.
The first season of the Christian church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays.
Advent is upon us friends. The time of year when we hopefully slow down and remember what we are celebrating. The time of year when we celebrate that CHRIST HAS COME and CHRIST WILL COME AGAIN. The time of year when we rejoice in the gift that God placed on this earth in his son, Jesus. For us. To bring us back to Him.
My kids are already making lists of all the things they need and want this year. In a moment of weakness we bought a tree last weekend and it's been shining bright in my living room ever since, even though I've alway been adamant that we not decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving. I've always held strong to the idea that the manger scenes and Christmas trees shouldn't make their appearance until the last of the dressing and green bean casserole has been devoured. Now here I sit in my living room with the only light being that from my computer and the lights on the tree. (Side note here: pre-lit tree for the win this year. It was the first year we have set up Christmas that Aaron hasn't become angry. Could be the pre-lit tree or the older kids, who knows, but either way it was our first lovely family experience of decorating. Mama's of littles …. try the pre-lit tree and if that doesn't work, then wait 10 years.)
Every year I have a moment of wishing December would slow down. As if we could have 3 more hours each day just for this month. The tug of wanting to go to every-single-Christmas-party-in-the-world, and wanting to sit around my living room every night with my people while sipping hot cocoa and watching Elf for the 8 millionth time that month. The tug of wanting to declare no gifts this year and only family time and Jesus, and wanting to get my kids everything they want in hopes that their happiness on the 25th would last for months to come. The tug of wanting to make cookies for all of my neighbors, and mailman, and trash man, and everyone I come in contact with, and the reality that I'm not a baker and hate baking.
This year I'm looking December in the eyes and I'm declaring a few things about her. I will not be manipulated into thinking I have to do it all. I will declare that my people in my house matter more than the best holiday party in the world. I will make cookies when I want to and feel no burden to put them in cute buckets with burlap and pass them out to everyone that I see. I will invite my family into daily reflections on what the Advent season truly means. I will invite my children into the greatest story that's ever been told – God always had a plan for his people, and that plan was Jesus. I will also buy flavored creamer to endulge in for the entire month. Heck, if I can't get 3 extra hours in each day at least my coffee will taste amazing for 31 days!
One of the ways that we as a family can slow down each and every day is to spend time in God's word together. Advent is celebrated all over the world by Christians, and it truly is a great season to direct your focus on Him. To help my children, and me for that matter, remember what this month represents for us. It's not a month to merely wish for gifts and holiday cookies, but yet it's a month to wish to know Him more. A month to celebrate His coming. A month to remember the gift of Jesus to us.
Thankfully we live in a society where there are so many Advent options for you and your family, so I'm gonna tell you about a few that I know of and trust. Two of these have digital copies, and that will be your best bet if you haven't yet bought anyting yet – since Advent officially starts tomorrow!
Sacred Holidays was started by my friend Becky because she wanted a way to help the women of God connect to him in some of our most busiest seasons – the holidays. This year their Advent study comes in many different forms. There's a study for women, teen girls, families, and men with each study focusing on the same attribute of God with different material. This is a great way for you to go through this Advent season with your husband, teen daughter, or as a family and read and mediate on the same truths of God every day. (I also was super honored to have been a contributor towards the women's study!) If you use the code HAPPYHOUR you can get 10% off, and one of my most favorite things about this study is that 10% of all of their profits are used to provide Advent studies to women in prison. (Thank you to those of you that donated so that the girls in my local jail could get these! We passed them all out on Tuesday!)
Amen Paper Co
Love these girls over at Amen Paper Co and although Advent is starting tomorrow, their advent calendar is worth getting any time of the year. This weekend I even used all the cards to decorate my Thankgiving table!
The Austin Stone Community Church
Our church offers an online Advent study for families and individuals. It's all online this year, which I'm a huge fan of, and you can choose to do an individual study, or a family study.
Immanuel: God with us. Each day of this Advent guide is written to stir you to know and treasure the God who has torn down the dividing wall of hostility so that we might be brought close to Him. He is the God who wrapped Himself in flesh, lived a perfect life, died a perfect death, and raised victoriously from the grave all so that His people would be saved.
Counting the days, Lighting the Candles
This is a book that you can get on Amazon, which means that if you order RIGHT NOW you can have on Monday and only be one day behind. And let's all be honest we're all gonna end up one day behind at one point or another this month! This book is from my friends Jessica Thompson and Elyse Fitzpatrick.
“Counting the Days, Lighting the Candles” is a Christmas Advent Devotional to help you and your family rejoice and rest in the holiday season. Beginning with December 1 and all through the month, you'll find separate readings for adults and children for each day. Also included are 4 activity suggestions that will enhance your family's experience of this blessed holiday season.
I hope that you and your family find time this month to slow down and remember what this month is about. Celebrating the arrival of a noble person – our King Jesus.
Other blogs I've written about Advent: HERE