Advent is nothing new, even though all the cool kids are talking about it now. Here’s a great in-depth summary of what Advent is. Advent comes from a latin word meaning “coming.” Advent covers the 4 Sundays (starting a few days back) leading up to Christmas, followed by a celebration feast for twelve days, ending in what is known as Epiphany.
Certainly Scripture does not force an observance of the Advent season, but for those who could use some extra structure and focus to their daily devotion and prayer time, this post will help steer you in some helpful directions.
Over the past few years I’ve set aside a larger amount of my day for Advent reading and reflection, wanting the Christmas season to feel different, but not different in a cultural way. I’ve long been somewhat of a “Scrooge” when it comes to Christmas and it’s season (more on that next week). I’m a church leader so most of the Christmas stuff is forced on me. Heightening my focus on Christ and His coming has allowed my Christmas season to be more about Jesus than anything else, and that’s always a win in my book.
My hope for all of us is that Advent could be a season of renewal, with increased longing for Jesus through new rhythms and purposeful simplifying. This might seem to be in contrast with how Christmas is celebrated culturally today, but I join with Advent Conspiracy wanting Advent to be a season where you worship fully, spend less, give more, and love all.
Here are some resources I would commend to you for this Advent season:
- Noisetrade is offering my friend Anne Marie Miller’s devotion book on Advent, as well as a sampler album from the children’s musical group Rain for Roots. Don’t miss those!
- One of my favorite reads each year is the online daily reading resource put together by Biola University. They incorporate paintings, music, Scripture, and meditations into their daily devotionals, and they are excellent.
- For a lengthier read, the daily readings within the book Watch the Light are some of my favorite. The book features phenomenal writers of wide variety, from various Christian traditions. It is less devotion type-writing, and more meditations on the theology of Advent.
- For families looking to do their own daily or weekly Advent reading and activity, Focus on the Family has a selection of different Advent calendars they’ve put together in recent years that could be incorporated into your family’s plans. I’ve also been reading The Expected One, which is an easily accessible daily family devotion.
- As far as music goes, my go-to is the yearly sampler that Sleeping at Last puts out. This year being no exception.