Thanksgiving has come and gone, ushering us into the most wonderful season of the year: Christmas!
What rises up in you as you see the word Christmas?
- For some it might be the pressure to get on top of your gift buying.
- For others it might be the thought of all the parties and festivities that you have to prepare for and get to participate in.
- For some it might be memories of Christmas past.
- For some it might be an excitement for time off spent with family and friends.
For me, reading the word “Christmas” stirs up an excitement for Advent. Advent is a word with Latin roots and it means “coming.” It is a season of longing and expectation for the coming of Christ. This church tradition dates all the way back to the late fourth century. Advent begins on December 1st this year and is the 24 days leading up to Christmas.
Advent isn’t a required observance in the Bible, but there is much benefit that comes from making space for Advent in the midst of you and your family’s Christmas season. Here are some of the reasons we think Advent is valuable (click here to see the full article that inspired these reasons & for a further explanation of each of them)–
- It reminds us we aren’t the center of God’s plan
- It reminds us of the saints that have longed for the coming of Christ before us, and connects us to centuries of church tradition
- It slows us down in the middle of a very busy and full season
- It teaches us to be patient
- It teaches us to long to be fully content in Christ
- It strengths our confidence in the promises of God
We, as Heights Students, will be celebrating Advent together with your students each Sunday leading up to Christmas. We will light the candles of hope, peace, joy, love and Christ. We see so much value in you and your student walking through Scripture and readings of Advent together. Our church has created an Advent Reading Plan with Scripture, additional readings, songs, activities, etc. for you to use. We will be walking through it and want to invite you and your family to join us.
This Advent season we pray that the lyric “let every heart prepare him room” will be much more than something we sing, but a reality that comes as we set aside intentional time to long expectantly for the coming of Christ in our hearts and lives.
“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon[d] his shoulder,
and his name shall be called[e]
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”