Thursday, December 14, 2017

Discovering Advent

You, like me, may not have grown up celebrating Advent. You may not have ever heard about it until now. I became aware of Advent about 5 years ago but I have not incorporated it into my routine until this year.

First some background.  Here is some information on Advent that I discovered as I wrote this post:



  • Advent is the beginning of the Western liturgical year and commences on the fourth Sunday before Christmas (sometimes known as Advent Sunday). Advent begins on the Sunday that falls between November 27th and December 3rd each year; Advent ends on Christmas Eve.
  • Christians often speak of the three comings of Christ: in the flesh in Bethlehem, in our hearts daily, and in glory at the end of time.
  • The Advent season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.   
  • The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming,” which is a translation of the Greek word parousia. 
  • Originally, there was little connection between Advent and Christmas. Advent is intended to be a season of fasting, much like Lent, and there are a variety of ways that this time of mourning works itself out in the season. 
  • The Advent celebration is both a commemoration of Christ’s first coming and an anticipation of His second coming. [Sources: Wikipedia, Gotquestions.org, christianity.com]

Advent is not necessarily a Christian tradition, therefore, should Christians observe Advent? This is a matter of personal conviction. Here is the biblical principle: “One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord” (Romans 14:5–6).

As I've discovered this year, there is certainly nothing wrong with commemorating Jesus’ birth and anticipating His return as such commemoration and anticipation should be an everyday part of our lives. There's no requirement to observe Advent nor does doing so make you more acceptable to God. Advent is simply a good reminder of what the season is truly all about.  I can't say that I'll always celebrate Advent as I do believe we should have expectant hearts daily not just at Christmas. And if nothing changes because of our observation then there really is no point in observing Advent.

Since I saw the merit of having an expectant heart I decided to use Unwrapping the Names of Jesus by Asheritah Ciuciu as the basis for discovering Advent as a family. This devotional comes in a pretty package which is enticing, but better than that, the 5-day devotionals really pack a punch. They're the perfect length for the busy among us.

I decided to take advantage of technology and shared key points from the daily devotional with my immediate family and my siblings. I was inspired to go this route after Thanksgiving when my husband and I, with our adult children, were able to continue our annual tradition of saying what we each were thankful via Facetime and I thought why not use technology to keep our hearts focused on Jesus during this season instead of the millions of distractions that abound.

This method has worked out better than I anticipated: as part of my morning quiet time, daily I share a devotional summary via a group chat. Sometimes there are no responses and sometimes they are. It does not matter since I do know it makes everyone think, meditate and reflect on the Greater Priority: growing in both our knowledge and love of Jesus this Christmas season. In addition, I've learned another side of my siblings which I'm grateful for since as adults we're in disparate locations.

So if you're interested In Unwrapping the Names of Jesus, author Asheritah Ciuciu leads readers through the four weeks of Advent (Hope, Preparation, Joy, and Love). Each week:
  • Begins with an interactive family devotional that equips readers to celebrate Advent together. 
  • Offers five daily reflections that focus on that week's name of Jesus. 
  • Includes suggestions for fun-filled family activities or service project. (I have not done any of these.)
We have enjoyed focusing on the many names of Jesus as we approach Christmas. If you'd like to purchase this book, use this code ADVENT40 to receive an additional 40% on the Publisher's site.


For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. Isaiah 9:6-7
Happy Advent. Do you celebrate Advent? If so what do you do?

--Nylse

Thanks for reading. Please take a moment to share using the buttons below and also please like my Facebook Page. Don't forget to subscribe. Stay Encouraged!

5 comments:

  1. I've heard so much about this devotional, it sounds neat! What a great idea to share devotions via group chat while you all live dispersed. Thanks for sharing this!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I started celebrating Advent when my daughters were young about 36 years ago to help them focus on why we celebrate Christmas. We read Scripture and added a cross-stitched ornament to an Advent tree and on Sundays lit a candle in our wreath, telling part of the Christmas story.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nylse, this is a devotional I'd wanted to get this year, but didn't manage to do so. I need to get it anyway, so I'll have it ready for next year. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post and review with us. Love that this is your first year celebrating Advent. <3

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for sharing about advent. We did not celebrate it growing up only Christmas. I could't find my advent book this year. It is tucked away somewhere. Maybe its time for a new one.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Even though I grew up in a Christian home, I had no clue what Advent was. ha. Once I became an adult, I learned about it and incorporated it into my own family and loved it. It's a sweet season of quietness with the Lord, even if only in our hearts, during this month of December. Thanks for sharing, Nylse!

    ReplyDelete

I love reading your comments; but please be kind. Unkind comments will be removed.