Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, our focus turns toward Christmas. The biggest holiday of the year is just less than a month away and the holiday mayhem has begun. This time of the year always seems to move by quicker than any other.
There’s undoubtedly a lot on each of our minds as Christmas approaches. But what we may not be thinking about is Advent. Advent has already begun and, in all likelihood, celebrating it may not be as prominent in our minds as that great deal on the DeWalt cordless power tool set, or untangling Christmas lights, or attending endless ugly sweater parties. It may be that Advent hasn’t been made a tradition in your family.
So what’s the purpose of Advent? The word Advent in Latin means coming. Advent points us toward Jesus’ first coming, and celebrating it causes us to reflect on how all creation eagerly awaited the birth of Christ. Not only does Advent help us look back, it also helps us remain focused on the true essence of Christmas in the present. Although we may know Christmas is about the birth of Christ, where we give our time and attention may not reflect what we say we believe. In our consumer-driven culture, we’re easily distracted by holiday traditions that have little or nothing to do with the joy of Christ’s birth. Advent is a helpful way for us and our families to think about Christ coming to earth to save us from our sin.
Remembering is an important theme throughout Scripture. Just as God repeatedly tells the Israelites to remember their bondage in Egypt and how He had delivered them, He wants us to know what He’s done for us. Scripture itself is an account of the acts of God and His faithfulness. Remembering should be at the heart of the Christian’s life. It should also be at the heart of not just Christmas morning, but the entire month of December.
It’s hard to keep our focus on the birth of Christ if we don’t step back from the chaos of the holidays. Advent lets us pause during the busy Christmas season and reflect on Christ’s birth. It’s a continual fight to fix our minds on things that are above, so fight to direct your attention toward the One who deserves our focus and praise. Get yourself and your family excited for Christmas by celebrating Advent. It’s vital that we actively teach our children why Christmas is such an important time of remembering.
Many eagerly awaited the birth of Christ for nearly 4,000 years. Doesn’t our celebration of that glorious moment deserve four weeks of increasing eagerness?
I hope you’ll join me and my family by celebrating Advent in your homes this Christmas. Make it fun. Involve your kids. Build a wreath together and place it on your dinner table. Let these four weeks leading up to Christmas be filled not just with joy for the gifts, but for the joy of our Savior coming to earth.
If you haven’t celebrated Advent before and would like to know how, here are some helpful free resources to get you started.