Advent is one of the most joyous seasons of the year as we prepare our hearts from the coming of Jesus. In the four weeks leading up to Christmas, Christians partake in worship, reflection, and scripture reading. With the chaos of shopping, wrapping and coordinating holiday parties, the season of Advent can get lost in the shuffle.
Advent shouldn’t be about adding one more thing to your to-do list, but an opportunity to set apart time each day for God. Before you cast out this time of refection due to flooded scheduling, keep in mind there are ways to make it work. Here are just a few simple ways to celebrate Advent.
Why do we celebrate?
Before delving into the ways to celebrate, it’s important to first understand the whys. As Christians, the Advent season is a time for preparation and penance. For example, before celebrating a loved one’s birthday with friends and family, there is preparation to be done. You may set a theme, shop for decorations, clean your home, gather gifts, all of which take time to put together. In a similar way, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ requires a period of planning.
Advent is about reflection, worship, and excitement. The word itself derives from the Latin word for “coming” or “arrival.” We anxiously await the birth of our savior by opening our hearts and creating room for him to write his story upon them. The season is not simply about the initial coming of Jesus, but also of his return. We acknowledge and honor both his arrival as a human child and his declared return as a triumphant king.
It may sound easier said than done to make extra time in your holiday schedule, but it can be done. Most families set aside time either at the beginning of their day or in their nightly routine. You can easily find a wreath and candles for Advent online to set in a place of importance in your home.
Whether you’re single, married, or have a house full of kids, set a definitive time each Sunday to light the candle of the week and reflect. Each one, from the prophet’s candle at week one, to the Christ candle on Christmas day, represents a key moment in the story of baby Jesus’ birth.
Family Time Is the Best Time
For those with children, telling the story each Sunday from a different character’s perspective keeps the excitement from week to week. As you light the candle each Sunday, make the experience interactive for your little ones. In week one, ask them how they might have felt if they were the prophets hearing the news that a baby was going to be born who would save the world. In week three, ask them what they think the shepherds must have been feeling when an angel appeared to them. The holidays are the perfect time to come together and invite Jesus into your home as a family.
Friends Make Everything Better
You’ve probably set aside time in your holiday schedule for parties with friends and neighbors. If you’re able to make time for these events, why not set aside time each week to come together for Advent? Your gatherings don’t have to be on Sundays, you can choose the day and time that’s best for your group.
Coming together as a weekly small group to reflect on the story of Jesus’ birth, light a candle, and praise together solidifies friendships in Christ. Ask your guests to stop by the local grocery or liquor store for food and wine, sit together, and keep the reason for the season alive.