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I have always loved the Christmas season. I love Christmas lights, and baking, and crafts, and shopping, and Christmas parties, and visiting family. And this year I was especially looking forward to it because it’s Susie’s first Christmas! There are so many things I’m excited to experience with her, not just this Christmas, but in all her future Christmases. This has been a year full of anticipation for my little family.
I mean, just LOOK at the face!
On top of my excitement for experiencing Christmas with my daughter, I’m also coming to a deeper understanding of what Christmas means. Over the past few years, I’ve followed an Advent Bible reading plan during the month of December. It has been so neat to revisit those key passages at the same time each year to remind me of what Christmas is all about.
Advent is a season of anticipation. Advent literally means “the arrival or coming of something.” By reading through scriptures that take us through the fall of man, to God’s promised salvation, to the many prophecies of Jesus’ birth, Advent gives us the opportunity to walk in the shoes of the Old Testament world who only saw Jesus as a far off promise. But knowing something was coming…advent. And it reminds us of the continual advent we experience as we look forward to the second coming of Christ. The anticipation of Christmas is only a small glimpse of the anticipation believers experience of God’s ultimate promise being fulfilled.
I recently listened to the book “A Christmas Carol” while I was wrapping presents and doing other festive-ish things, and was reminded of this continual advent we experience. At the end of the story Scrooge proclaims:
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”– Charles Dickens
I love this idea of living in the Past, Present, and Future, especially in light of the Advent season. As Christians walking through Advent, we remember the time of waiting the Israelites are in during the Old Testament. And how we are living in another advent right now, as we wait for Christ’s future return.
I used to think that Christmas became less magical the older I got. And that’s probably true. But now I see that the deeper my understanding of who God is, the more miraculous Christmas becomes.
It has been such a joy for me to grow in my understanding of what Advent means this year. Advent isn’t just a block of days on the calendar, but time set aside to focus on what our lives really are all year round. Advent points us to God’s plan of salvation because Christmas is the celebration of God sending his Son into the world to accomplish that plan. How amazing is it that the God of creation chose to become a helpless baby for our salvation? (and remember I just had a baby so I understand how totally helpless babies are.)
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Hesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”Matthew 1:21
I’ve always loved Christmas, but I’m starting to love the entire process that Advent and Christmas take over the month of December even more.
A few of the resources that have helped me to grow in my understanding of Advent are:
Advent Reading Plan – She Reads Truth
Advent Week 1 Podcast – She Reads Truth
Hope for a Dark World – At Home with Sally Podcast
Behold the Lamb of God – Andrew Peterson album