??This Sunday, 11/28, marks the beginning of Advent. If you?re not familiar with the tradition of Advent, let me give you a quick overview. I imagine most of us are familiar with the term Advent in relation to the child?s cardboard calendar consisting of 24 doors. Each day the child opens a door and finds some kind of treat (often chocolate). This continues each day in December leading up to Christmas Eve when the final door is opened (sometimes Christmas day is the final day). I remember having these calendars as a child and looking forward to opening the door and counting down the days until Christmas. I?m sure it?s no surprise that my excitement had more to do with the candy and of course the coming presents and celebration on Christmas Day than it did with the Birth of Christ :)…I mean, who doesn?t like candy and presents right? However, Advent is actually about focusing our hearts and minds on the coming Christ. It begins 4 Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. It?s a time of anticipation, hope, and joy, as we remember Christ?s first coming in Bethlehem as a baby, his continual presence in our lives today, and his future return. Advent does this through daily readings and the lighting of candles.
If you?re like me, it?s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of the Christmas season and not give proper attention to the real reason we?re celebrating. Don?t get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas…the decorations, the music, the food, the movies and TV shows, I love it all, and there?s certainly a place for it all. I just think we need to be careful to make sure Christ doesn?t get lost in all the other stuff. That?s why I appreciate Advent. It?s a daily reminder of where my focus should be.
Here?s a few ideas to help you focus your heart this Advent season??
- Sign up for a daily advent devotion to be emailed to you. Check out http://www.biblegateway.com/blog/?p=455
- Use the following reading schedule adapted from the Lectionary. http://www.crivoice.org/advent1.html
- Consider purchasing a wreath and candles for your family to observe Advent together. Check out http://www.christianbook.com/advent for some great and affordable resources.
??Whether or not you chose to observe Advent, I hope you?ll find someway to keep your heart and mind focused on Christ this Christmas seasons.