So here we are. December 2019. The pumpkin décor has been packed away and in its place the sparkle and the shine of Christmas. If you didn’t already turn your calendar page, you’d better! Because December is sure to fill up with all the special events it can possibly hold… concerts and performances, shopping and baking. Christmas movies, Christmas presents, and Christmas parties. How can we slow the pace of this season and leverage it for spiritual growth opportunities for ourselves and for those we love?
For centuries, Christians have referred to the season leading up to Christmas as Advent. Much like Lent is to the celebration of Easter, Advent is a season of preparation – preparing our hearts and minds for the event of Christ’s coming, both as a human baby, and His second (future) coming. Both clearly point to “our place between the Resurrection and Second Coming. Advent and Christmas are not merely about the coming of Jesus, but about everything since the birth of Jesus” – excerpt from The History of Advent, from The Gospel Coalition.
So you may be thinking this all sounds very interesting, but asking yourself our original question – How can we slow the pace of this season and leverage it for spiritual growth opportunities for ourselves and for those we love? Is this even possible?
Only by the grace of God. And by His Spirit at work in us.
Pray now for God’s wisdom as you pursue this Christmas season with intentionality. And remind yourself that this is not one-size-fits-all. No, your family’s Advent season may not look exactly like the Jones’s. But it can look like a disciple-making opportunity and a refreshing change of pace in your little corner of the world. It can look different than it did last year. And it can help to center your focus on the Hope that we have in Jesus.
“Begin as you mean to go on, and go on as you began, and let the Lord be all in all to you.” Charles Spurgeon
Below are some ideas to get your started:
- Consider Unwrapping the Names of Jesus: An Advent Devotional as a way to focus on Christ during this very busy season.
- For women: https://blog.lifeway.com/womenallaccess/2019/11/04/study-advent-with-us-sign-up/?ecid=572524555&bid=1972817188
- Use Christmas cards as prayer reminders. As Christmas cards arrive in the mail, display them in a prominent place (where all members of the family can see them). Each day, choose a person/family’s card and pray for him. You might even follow up with a card to that person, saying “we prayed for you.” This idea came from the article 6 Ideas for Celebrating Advent as a Family.
- Holiday Homeschool Christmas Planner Even if you don’t home school, you may enjoy using some of these resources as you plan special activities and preserve holiday memories for your family.
- Wrap Christmas books and place them in a pile to be used in counting down the days until Christmas. Children will love to unwrap one book each evening and read together as a family. (These do not have to be all new books! Wrap the Christmas books you already have and click here for additional book ideas).
- Got kids who love to color? Check out All the Colors of Christmas Advent Activity Calendar from Focus on the Family.
- Look for printed materials and more Advent resources on the Family Resource Board, just inside the Family Room at Crosspoint.