Initially, I never really understood the appeal of Advent.
When I began to attend church regularly as a teenager, no one really talked about Advent. Advent was like Fight Club—you didn’t really talk about it. You were “in” Advent or not. As a clueless teenager, I just brushed it off and moved on. I attended a Christian college and they celebrated Advent; however, I chose to focus on the library calendar and my studies. My lack of awareness about Advent continued until I was in my mid-twenties.
When I met my wife, Steph, I still was unaware of Advent. My wife was a lifelong member of Fight Club (Team Advent) and I experienced Advent with her during our first Christmas together. The church was fully decorated in Christmas decorations — at the very beginning of December. Upon seeing all of the decorations, I thought that maybe we were attending a Christmas party. Boy, was I wrong!
For the next 4 weeks (or more), we celebrated “Christmas.” We even celebrated Christmas past December 25th! I was not sure how to celebrate Christmas all month long but I learned. And it made me more curious about Advent.
Here are my four steps to enjoying Advent if you aren’t in the club yet:
Establish a devotional routine. Being in the Word is important but especially important during the chaos of the holidays.
Use an Advent calendar. This is great if you have children at home. Make sure the calendar has Scripture for each day.
Know your limits. You cannot possibly be at every function. Learn to say “no.” If Jesus knew his limits then we need to embrace this soul care too.
Be a giving person. Some people will take this as purchasing gifts for people but it is much bigger than that. Ask Jesus who needs your presence this Season and what do they need. Some people need prayers (in person) while others need the gift of an open ear and heart.
Lastly, I would love to close with a prayer for you.....
Jesus, help us experience you this Advent. Guide our thoughts and motives to be focused on you instead of the busyness of the Season. May we guide people to more of you and less of us. Amen.