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 2, and ends on Christmas Day.  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.  Still others read devotional books, make crafts, or color ornaments, all in hopes of focusing on Christ, the greatest gift, instead of simply presents and Santa.

Advent Resources

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!

Families

ACTIVITIES 

Knowing Him by Name by Focus on the Family | Free

Family Advent Guide by Lifeway | Free

Family Activities by Advent Conspiracy | Free

The Wonder of the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp | $22

Daily ornament crafts by Truth in Tinsel | $10

DEVOTIONALS

Family Audio Devotionals with Ornaments by Austin Stone Community Church | Free

The Expected One by Scott James | $9

A Jesus Christmas by Barbara Reoach | $9

BOOKS

The Littlest Watchman by Scott James | $11

A Christmas Promise by Alison Mitchel | $16

Keeping Holiday by Starr Meade | $15

Adults & Individuals

Personal Devotional by Austin Stone Community Church | Free

Good News of Great Joy by John Piper | Free ebook

The Dawning of Indestructible Joy by John Piper | Free ebook

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus edited by Nancy Guthrie | $10

Come Let Us Adore Him by Paul David Tripp | $16

Love Came Down at Christmas by Sinclair Ferguson | $12

Men’s & Women’s Advent Study Books by She Reads Truth

Music

These albums listed below represent a wide variety of worshipful music for the Advent season: original music and well-known covers; quiet, reflective instrumentals and soulful ballads; deep Scriptural poetry and fun holiday rhymes.  Whatever you listen to, may it all be for the glory of God in Christ, who’s coming we celebrate and anticipate.

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.)

Annual Christmas albums by Folk Angel | Free with Amazon Prime

Waiting Songs by Rain for Roots | Free with Amazon Prime

The Light Came Down by Josh Garrels | Free with Amazon Prime

Christmas Music Vol. I by Evan Wickham | $9

Christmas by Jill Phillips & Andy Gullahorn | $10

The Living Room Sessions – Christmas by Chris Rice | $10

Christmas by Francesca Battistelli | $7

Holy Night by Sara Groves | $10

Unto Us by JJ Heller | $9

Something’s Happening by CeCe Winans | $10

He Is Christmas by Take 6 | $10

Christmas Is Here by Brandon Heath | $10

It’s Christmas! by Mercy Me | $8

Art

Advent Art Project by Biola University | Free

 

Also, check out Empty Plate Love for another way to show the sacrificial love of Christ to the world this Christmas Season.