What is Advent?
Advent simply means the coming or arrival of a person, thing, or event. Advent usually describes the time of preparation and focus leading up to Christmas which celebrates the coming of Christ from heaven to earth. It starts on Advent Sunday, which is the 4th Sunday before Christmas Day. This year Advent starts on Sunday, December 3, and ends on Christmas Eve. The weeks leading up to Christmas can be so busy and distracting from the real celebration of Christ’s birth. Advent is a way to slow down and focus on Christ each and every day as we get closer to Christmas.
Jews in the Old Testament looked forward to and anticipated the coming of the promised rescuer, the messiah, Jesus Christ, who would save them from their sins. He came as a baby boy, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, took the penalty for our sin on the cross, was resurrected on the 3rd day, ascended into heaven 40 days later, and is now preparing a place for us. The Bible promises he will return to take those who believe in him to be with him in the new heavens and new earth. Advent is a time for believers to not only celebrate the 1st coming of Christ, but to look forward to and anticipate the 2nd coming of Christ, much like the Old Testament saints anticipated His 1st coming. We ought to live with hope and expectation for his return!
How do I celebrate Advent?
Families celebrate Advent in many different ways. The important thing is not necessarily “how”, but “that” you celebrate. Just be intentional to take time each day to focus on Christ in some special way together as a family. Some families and churches celebrate advent by lighting a candle each week on an advent wreath symbolizing each of the advent themes (hope, peace, joy, and love) and then lighting a 5th candle on Christmas Day. Others celebrate with different types of advent calendars and do something special on each day. They range from candy filled calendars to devotional calendar books, all in hopes that we will focus on Christ, the greatest gift, instead of simply presents and Santa.
Here is our collection of Advent resources to help you and your family celebrate the first time Christ came and to look forward to Him coming again!
ACTIVITIES & DEVOTIONALS
O Holy Night (Advent Calendar and Nativity) by Focus on the Family (Stories and Interactive Calendar) | Free
Family Advent Guide by Lifeway | Free
Family Guide and Devotionals by Advent Conspiracy | Free
A Christmas Promise by Alison Mitchel | $13
The Greatest Christmas Books by Ann Voskamp
Truth in Tinsel | $9.99
The Littlest Watchman by Scott James | $12
Keeping Holiday by Starr Meade | $14
Adults & Individuals
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus edited by Nancy Guthrie | $9
Come Let Us Adore Him by Paul David Tripp | $14
Men’s & Women’s Advent Study Books by She Reads Truth
Advent Art Project by Biola University | Free
Behold the Lamb of God by Andrew Peterson | $20 (This is an inspiring, excellent, and family-enriching presentation of the story of Christ from Moses to Jesus’s birth. Russ Ramsey has written an accompanying Advent devotional, as well.)
The Light Came Down by Josh Garrels | $9 or Free with Amazon Prime
Christmas Is Here by Brandon Heath | $10
It’s Christmas! by Mercy Me | $8
Also, check out Empty Plate Love for another way to show the sacrificial love of Christ to the world this Christmas Season.