Advent is a season of anticipating the coming birth of the Messiah. I have felt the Church has missed opportunity to celebrate one of the most important historical events the world has ever seen. Why do we allow it to get lost with our focus on more stuff! I wish to encourage everyone to consider making much more about Christmas this year than perhaps you have ever done before. After all, it is about celebrating the incarnation . . . GOD became a man and pitched His tent among us (John 1:14) for the sole purpose of dying in our place to bring our redemption so that we can embrace our eternal destiny. How can we not celebrate and make much of Christmas!
Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas (today, December 1) and ends on Christmas Eve. It is a season for Christians to prepare for celebrating the birth of JESUS by remembering the longing of the Jews for a Messiah. In Advent, we’re reminded of how much we ourselves also need a Savior.
One way you can participate in Advent as a family is to have an Advent wreath in your home using three purple candles for Sundays one, two and four which signifies seriousness, repentance, and royalty. On the third Sunday you would light a pink candle which signifies joy because we are reminded that even as Advent helps us get in touch with our sober yearning for GOD to come to us, we know that He did in fact come in the person of JESUS. So, our major-theme of waiting has a grace note of joy mixed in. A white candle placed in the middle of the wreath is the Christ-candle and is lighted on Christmas Day (or possibly at mid-night Christmas morning).
During Advent your family could share in an Advent devotional together daily. You could also use an Advent calendar. There could be a surprise in the little door each day for the children along with a scripture verse that speaks to the coming Messiah.
It is important that throughout the Advent season that excitement for the birth of JESUS is building culminating in a great celebration on Christmas Day. Observing Advent will enrich your celebration of Christmas. Taking four weeks to focus on the hope of Christ’s coming will make your Christmas Day celebration much more exciting and joyful when you finally get to celebrate it. The more you realize your need for a Savior, the more you will rejoice at the Savior’s birth. Observing Advent will also help you resolve the age-old problem of secular Christmas vs. spiritual Christmas. As believers we realize the most important thing about Christmas is to celebrate the birth of JESUS. It’s a holiday that focuses on the meaning of the Incarnation. Yet we spend most of our time fulfilling the demands of the season that have little to do with JESUS’ birth. I love that part of Christmas too but I think it is extremely important that we do not allow that part to crowd out the most important part. You can still do that part but by observing Advent you will be drawn near to GOD in a way that you might not otherwise be able to.
Let’s make this Christmas season a testimony to the world. In the midst of darkness and despair the Light is coming . . . Hope is coming . . . Messiah is coming . . . CELEBRATE with great expectation!