It’s the most wonderful time of the year according to Andy Williams’ popular Christmas song, but for many, it’s the most frantic time of year. The expectations and obligations. The overindulging and overspending. They take a toll on our hearts.
I fight against the commercialization and consumerist approach to the season, and I win sometimes.
What helps me resist giving in to the chaos and pressures of the season is observing Advent. Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent and we spent the evening at a beautiful, wonderfully unique concert called Behold the Lamb of God by Andrew Peterson and company. It was a perfect way to begin the season.
Each year I learn more and more about Advent. It is a time of patient waiting, a month of anticipation. It’s a time of remembering how God’s people waited centuries for the promised Messiah, then He came.
We celebrate Christ coming to us as a baby. He showed us the Father and shared with us His purposes and, now…….we long for Christ’s return, the second coming.
Advent is an opportunity to focus on His goodness toward us and grow in gratefulness for all He’s done, is doing, and will do. It’s a time to ask questions and think about the answers.
What does it mean that our Savior King came down to live among us? What does it mean for our daily lives that Jesus was laid in a manger? How does His life teach me to live and love?
I will use a few resources to help me in my quiet meditations during Advent. For the last few years I’ve read the devotionals from Biola University’s CCCA Advent Project. You can find more information on their website.
I’m adding a brand new devotional this year by Dante Stewart called Prophesy Hope. I heard him speak earlier this year at the HopeWords Writer’s Conference and I’ve followed him on Twitter since.
Another significant part of any season for me is music. Last year I listened to an Advent playlist on Spotify put together by Brett McCracken, senior editor at The Gospel Coalition. He put together another one called Advent Songs, 2010s. I’m listening to that one and another one put together by Victoria Emily Jones from Art & Theology. Most of the songs were new to me, but have already made their mark on my heart and add a deep richness to the Advent days.
A couple of other resources I’ll read from or listen to are Amy Orr Ewing’s Love Came Down, which begins December 5th and Malcolm Guite’s poetry from his Advent anthology Waiting on the Word.
What are some ways you celebrate Advent? Do you read particular books of the Bible during Advent? I’d love for you to share some of your resources or ways you practice waiting during this season.