Reading Time: 4 min 27 sec
I walked into our local craft store on the day of Halloween and had to weave through a maze of boxes because Christmas had arrived at the store in full vengeance. I love Christmas as much (if not more) than the next girl but I started realizing that as a culture we sprint through fall to get to Christmas.
We don’t place value on being present in our current season of life but are always looking ahead to the next big thing-constantly worried that we will miss out.
You see this theme repeated in our eating patterns, where instead of finding enjoyment and contentment in the produce that season provides, we jump ahead expecting to have access to every type of fruit or vegetable no matter the time of year. If I want cantaloupe in January, then my word, I should get cantaloupe in January.
Christmas has been turned into a season filled with a flurry (pun intended) of holiday activity. We want to give our families a Pinterest worthy Christmas season filled with as many Instagram moments as possible.
We are all about the destination instead of the journey.
Advent offers us a counter-cultural way to approach the celebration of Jesus birth. It offers us an opportunity, to walk slowly, press pause, and enjoy a season full of hope, and rich anticipation.
- Pushing Pause
- Engaging the Senses
So, grab a cup of coffee and a thick blanket and let’s see what God has for us this season.
1. Walking Slowly
The Advent season encompasses four Sundays, starting on the Sunday closest to November 30th and ending on December 24th or Christmas Eve.
Advent is a time full of hope; Jesus the Savior of our souls, has come and will come yet again! A time of rich expectation, both as we prepare to rejoice in the day of Jesus birth, and as we anticipate His second coming.
Luke 12:35-38 (MSG) says, “Keep your shirts on; keep the lights on! Be like house servants waiting for their master to come back from his honeymoon, awake and ready to open the door when he arrives and knocks. Lucky the servants whom the master finds on watch! He’ll put on an apron, sit them at the table, and serve them a meal, sharing his wedding feast with them. It doesn’t matter what time of the night he arrives; they’re awake—and so blessed!”
Advent is a special time, where we not only prepare our hearts to celebrate Christ’s birth but to serve as a reminder, to live with expectation, with excitement, with joy, JESUS IS ON HIS WAY!
It can be hard to live with hope and expectation when our ordinary days are so bombarded with the pain and evil at work in this world. We know Christ is coming back, but sometimes it can feel like he will be arriving at some future time, never today.
Sybil Macbeth in her book, The Season of the Nativity says it like this, “But what the season of Advent tries to teach us is how to wait and to not lose heart, to live in hopeful patience. We rehearse during Advent the way to wait during the rest of the year, which is really the way to live during the rest of the year!”
When you engage in the season of Advent you learn patience and how to wait with hopeful expectation.
- Pushing Pause
God wants to invite you to press pause and experience the season of advent in a totally new way. He wants to invite you into a place of rest, expectation, anticipation and joy.
Pushing pause is not sticking a couple of advent activities into an already crazy schedule. If we are not intentional, Advent can be regulated to just another thing to check off the to-do list.
Jesus is inviting you to experience Advent with your heart instead of just your head. You might know a lot about the season but have you truly experienced it?
So how do you practically press pause?
By choosing to take time each day to refocus your heart on Jesus. Spend some time in silence and reflection just being present with God. Travel through an Advent devotional (they are literally everywhere) or reflect on a passage of scripture.
Here are some passages to get you started:
- Isaiah 40:9-11
- Matthew 1
- Luke 1
- Mark 13:31-37
- Choose a passage and read through it slowly several times.
- Ask God to underline a word or a phrase.
- Reflect on what that word or phrase says to you.
- Pray and tell God your thoughts.
- Ask what is the Lord inviting me into?
- How can I respond?
3. Engaging the Senses
Spending time with the Father without activity; in prayer, reflection, silence, and study is the foundation to Advent. Advent is not about doing but more about being. Being present with the One who is ever present with us.
As you are immersing yourself in anticipation of what Jesus has and will do, I would encourage you to choose one or two symbols or practices that will serve as a daily reminder.
Here are Some Suggestions:
- Spend some time with your children reading the Bible stories (or the passages listed above) that led up to the birth of Jesus. Children love and need repetition, as it allows them to engage deeply with the experience. Taking the time to engage with a passage and looking at it from different angles gives children the space to experience truth in their own lives.
- Make or buy an advent wreath. Take time each week to gather everyone together, to light a candle and pray. This will become a meaningful tradition, as your family experiences setting aside time to focus on the meaning of Advent.
- Find or make one meaningful symbol that will remind you (and your family) to press pause and not focusing on rushing towards Christmas day. To help you in this process, I have included directions to one of my favorite Advent Calendar activities below. This is a great activity to make with your children and needs only a couple of supplies (woohoo!).
I hope you join me this season in walking slowly, pressing pause, engaging your senses, and sitting with expectation and longing for what God has done, and will do through Jesus’s birth and second coming!
What about you? What are your favorite ways to engage in the season of Advent?
If you try any of these activities, let us know! Leave a comment, and don’t forget to follow Most Important Work on Pinterest.
Want to Go Deeper?