Sunday, November 28, 2010

How will you celebrate Advent this year?

Re-adjusting your calendar really does reveal priorities.  As I consider how I will celebrate Advent, I realize once again how important my time is to me, and how hard it is to give it up.  I realize that, subconsciously at least, it feels like I must make a choice between doing well academically (and just coping with life!) and focusing on Christ.  But is this really the case?

The more I think about it, the more I realize this 'choice' is yet another subtle lie that I have forgotten to question.  Instead I need to remember that  "in him we live and move and have our being"(Acts 17:28), and that it is in pushing Christ out that we lose our life. "For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it." (Mat 10:39,16:25, Mk 8:35,Lk 9:24...)   Putting Christ over the 'logic' of self interest is one of the counter-cultural parts of our faith, yet it is something God wants to teach us to do - abd what a gift it is!  Advent gives us an opportunity to practice just that.

Here are a list of practical ideas for celebrating Advent this year:

  • Buy or borrow an Advent devotional book, and take time either on your own or with a group of family or friends to use it once a week or even daily.  
  • Make/buy an advent wreath and light it during these times, and even at meals.  This could be as simple as arranging five candles on your table.    The traditional colors are purple, pink (see previous post) and white (for the Christ Candle - the center one).
  • Give up something (for example, sweets, or the singing of Christmas carols) for these four weeks before Christmas.  This helps remind us of our need for repentance, and also makes more tangible our sense of waiting for the true celebration of Christmas.
  • Simply challenge yourself to spend more time with God in prayer.
  • Participate in advent celebrations within your local church body.
This list is based off things that I have found helpful, but I'm sure there are many other ways you could celebrate advent.  May you be challenged and encouraged!


  1. Hey!
    I didn't know you have a blogggg :]

    Well I followed from the facebook link on my newsfeed.

    I cannot believe how quickly the time goes by.
    I still can't believe December is coming. Christmas season is HERE!
    Because we are in school... and basically live on earth, it's so easy to set our eyes on things in front of us.
    Wrapping up my first semester of second year in college sometimes creeps on me so quietly and I recently found myself spending more time on MYSELF than God.
    The more I pray and read, God's been so patient with me and been reminding me that this life that He has given me is not about ME or for ME, but it's about HIM and for HIM only.

    Christmas is here and this is another beautiful day God has given us to rejoice in His grace and mercy.
    Thank you so much for this post :] <3

    I will see you around or on Friday in ACF! x]


  2. Because of my job as an RA, I wasn't able to go to church yesterday, because everyone is on duty all day driving girls back from airports and train stations in heavy traffic.

    but I did put together a Pandora station to play actual Christmas music (I know, not advent, but if all I was hearing of "holiday music" was about santa baby I think I would go insane.) to put some serious focus on Christ and his coming, and I did some crafting of presents. (Painting plain Christmas balls. Remember me doing this in years we had together?) None of these were particularly advent-y activities, which are hard, as in a dorm candles are illegal. I do however still have the book I borrowed from the deserted spiritual life library last year. Watch for the Light? It is such a joy and a challenge.

    And I missed you. I hope you are well, and I'm looking forward to seeing you soon.

  3. Thanks for the comments. It is good to hear how God is working in your lives this week.

    Clara... I've heard of that book; maybe I'll read it next year, or you can share parts of it with me when you're back in town. Plus then you won't have to worry about using candles! :)

  4. Hey Bethany!
    Thank you for the thoughts and the challenge.
    I have to ponder this a little - we celebrate Advent Sundays at church, but it would be good for me to personalize it as well.

  5. My church doesn't celebrate advent, and I think my parents had a wreath once but only the Almighty knows where it is. So, I haven't really been in an advent frame of mind. But I have been thinking about how we approach prayer as something to do. But how we would never approach a friendship like that and I hope never a romantic relationship. So how do we get to the point of actually communicating with God and enjoying him? I don't know. Seems really mystical. But worth pursuing.

  6. Yes, that is a good question Abigail. However, I do think that sometimes in our relationships with people there is a certain amount of doing without always feeling at that moment. I mean, we have to intentionally set aside time in lives which demand our time elsewhere in order to know and love people. But yes, it is my hope that those times in which I delight in prayer and being with God will increase, and the times when I feel like it is just something I have to do will decrease.

    I also wanted to tell you, Abigail, that I appreciate your comments; it is good to discuss these things and I like to hear what you're thinking.