December is a crazy month. Hurrying from one party/get-together to the next. School functions for the kiddos. End-of-year miscellaneous craziness at work (and home). Football. Shoveling snow. More get-togethers. Oh yeah, and Christmas.
Christmas. You know, that key holiday celebrating the incarnation (where God became 100% man and was still fully God) - one of these most significant, distinctive features of the Christian faith? The time of year we remember that we need salvation, and yet are totally helpless to save ourselves, so God sent His Son in the form of a baby - ultimately so we could live in a right relationship with Him? The time of year we reflect on the Giver (God) who gave the Gift (Jesus Christ) we NEED (salvation)? Oh yeah. Christmas.
If you're like me, we can miss these key truths of Christmas all to easily. If we're not careful, Christmas can sneak up on us and pass like a quick blip. "What? It's Christmas already? I've not even thought about it!" Or we can scramble our way through the month, and be so scattered and weary by December 25 that we don't have the mental or physical fortitude to reflect on these rich truths of the Christian faith.
But Christmas - and most importantly, the Hope and Truth to whom Christmas points - is worth reflecting on. If we try to "consume Christmas" in a short span of time we'll miss the value of savoring it slowly. All of this is why the season called "Advent" (that we happen to be in right now) is so worthwhile.
Simply put, advent means "coming," and is a season set aside at the end of our calendar year to reflect on the coming of Jesus to earth as a baby. Advent protects us from rushing too quickly into Christmas and missing the value of savoring it slowly. Advent guides us to Jesus, by directing (and re-directing) our focus to Him over the course of multiple weeks.
So how do we appreciate Advent? Here are a few tips:
Block out time in your calendar
This one is simple. But it's really important. And often overlooked. If we're going to make the most of Advent and reflect on Christ's coming to earth, we need to make time for it.
Here are some potential ideas: What if you set aside 30 minutes one day a week, for the remaining weeks leading to Christmas, and devoted that time solely to reflecting on all the great truths wrapped up in Christmas: human sinfulness, God's gracious provision, the incarnation, what Jesus' coming offers, and more? Or what if you devoted drive time on your way home from work to this sort of reflection? Or what if you guided your family in thinking through these truths over supper one night a week?
Read (and reflect on) key Bible passages
Here are some key Bible passages that can guide your time reflecting on Christ's coming. More could certainly be listed, but here's four to get you started:
Keep three questions front-and-center throughout the month
What other ideas and/or resources have helped you appreciate Advent? Share them here!
Christian. Husband. Father. Pastor. Learner. Contributor. Reader.