Friday, December 3, 2010

Journey of Faith Friday: Advent



I spent many years sitting in the pews listening to the reading of Scripture passages and watching the candles be lit.  The candles of the advent wreath, that is.  The first week, a purple candle was lit and prophecies, regarding the coming Christ, were read.  The second week, two purple candles were lit and now I don't remember what Scriptures were read....  The Christmas season would come and go and year after year we would celebrate.  I knew it was about Jesus.  I knew it was about gift giving, which originally occurred when the wise men gave gifts (gold, frankincense, and myrrh-Matt. 2:11) to baby Jesus.  I, also, knew it was about Santa and enjoying family and food and friends.  

I once read, "Tradition is only tradition, because it means something to us."  This is so very true, but tradition also plants something in your mind that may not become meaningful to you until another season in life.  The advent celebration is a tradition I have always remembered, but it has become more deeply rooted in me in recent years.  

"The word advent originates  from the Latin word advenio which means coming to" (source).  It is the time where we focus on Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ coming into the world.  Advent is a time, a tradition that allows us to extend our Christmas celebration throughout the month of December as we eagerly anticipate the arrival of the One who is the Light of the World (Isa. 42:6, Isa. 49:6, Isa. 51:4, John 1:7-8, John 8:12).  In our culture of hustle and bustle advent offers us a chance to slow down and focus on God's faithfulness in fulfilling His promise of the Messiah.  Slow down and focus on all of those who had been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Christ, and who actually believed Jesus was the awaited One.  Slow down and focus on the scene of the first Christmas, and all that was taking place in the hearts and lives of Mary, Joseph, and the citizens of the Roman world (Matthew 1:18-2:23, Luke 2).  Slow down and focus on the impact Jesus had during His 33 year of life and the hope He brought to the nations.  Slow down and focus on the day when Christ will return and every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord (Phil. 2:8-11). 

A few weeks ago, Sam and I were walking when he said, "I would like to start an advent tradition."  I was thrilled, as I know it will help us to stay focused on the coming Christ, and it will be something that will take root in our children, growing deeper and deeper, as the years pass.  I purchased an advent calendar with included Bible verses, but we have also began reading A Jesus Advent Celebration devotional.  A Jesus Advent Celebration is a free resource written by Ann Voskamp and Nancy Rodden, that I would highly recommend (download here).
  • What are you doing in anticipation of the coming Christ?
  • Do your children experience the stress of the holiday season or do they experience the Light of the World?  
  • Do you view advent as something only "those" denominations "DO" or do you walk along side ALL Christ followers and focus on the coming Christ?
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from His roots a branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him-the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord-and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.  He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breathe of his lips he will slay the wicked.  Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist....In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious. (Isa. 11:1-5, 10)

Will you share how you are anticipating the coming of the Christ? Or post anything about your faith journey, giving God the glory for all that He has done. 
If you decide to share....enter the URL to your direct post in the linky tool below.  
You can link up any time through next Friday. 
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Next Friday:  I will be continuing to write about advent.  You can join me in writing about the advent season or feel free to write anything about your faith journey, linking back to Journey of Faith Friday.  

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heidi @ wonder woman wannabe said...

We have an advent tradition in our family. We have an advent calendar that I usually put candy or chocolate in for each day. After dinner we read a scripture and have a candy!

I am also appreciating the advent tradition more as I get older as well. I'm looking forward to a quiet Christmas at home this year - grandparents are coming to us!

Amanda said...

Where did you find your advent calendar? I've been looking to start this tradition in our family.

Kindra said...

I'm just now reading this and it's a great reminder of the importance of Advent - and what a special tradition to start a devotional during this time. Thanks for sharing!