I didn’t know what advent was really all about. So, I looked it up. Some of the links I visited are footnoted below. But basically it’s a time of preparation.
I’d like to think of it as a time focus. I’ve recently begun to think of this year as an interruption to my regular life that allows me to adjust my sight so that I can see better. This is my first year participating in an advent season. I’m using this season as an alignment and a time focus on Jesus. I want to remember why we are here and what we are doing.
In preparation, I’ve created an advent reading list that my family will review together. If you’d like to print out a list of verses, see below. I’m going to print out all the verses, put them in envelopes, number them, and display them in the living room. We’ll have a little treat or a hot chocolate together and read the verse and discuss.
I’ve chosen to focus in on six things: hope, peace, joy, love, faith, and Jesus’ wonderful arrival. In November, I began reading some Psalms for thanksgiving and I’ve decided to continue looking at Psalms in this season. I’ve pulled in a couple of other verses and passages as well. The series begins on November 29 and goes for a full 28 days.
Week one is hope. The verses that I’ve chosen are meant to focus in on Jesus as our hope. The Hebrew words for hope mean to be expectant, waiting, patient, longing for something. In this case, the focus is on longing for Jesus, Immanuel, God with us. Also, we are longing for the Spirit to give us peace and joy as fruits of the spirit.
Week two is peace. The Psalmists refer to the peace that we receive from God. That is reflected in the verses I’ve pulled together as well. Jesus also talks about the peace that we receive from him. The verses in this week, all have the same Hebrew word for peace. The word means to be whole or one, fully in relationship. Specifically, with God.
Week three is joy. Throughout the Bible we are told our joy comes from the Lord. We are also told that we will overflow with Joy. I personally struggle with joy and don’t fully understand it. The Hebrew words in these verses mean gladness. It seems to also points to joy in completeness – a full body participation. The Psalms reference singing, dancing, preparing feasts, clapping, dancing. All require full body participation.
Week four is focused on Love. I’ve pulled in two sets references for this week. There are Psalms which seem to point to Jesus and prophecies from Isaiah which do point at Jesus. The reason for Jesus’ birth is love, it’s the fulfillment of God’s plan to bring us back to him. We’re united with him in love. These Hebrew words are strong attachments in all ways. It’s the God-Love, Agape.
Our family will also read the Christmas stories during Christmas week. These are found in Matthew 1-2 and in Luke 1-2. We’ll read them on the four nights leading up to Christmas. We’ll also set up a nativity scene when we set up our decorations for Christmas.
Finally, today I’d like to offer a prayer for you this Christmas season. Is that okay? Great.
Dearest God, Abbah. I pray for all the people this season. I pray that everyone finds you and your light this holiday season. May we be reminded that it’s about the hope, peace, joy, and love which only can come from you. I pray that you bring comfort to those who have a heavy heart, I pray you bring peace to homes where there is conflict, I pray you bring provision where there is not enough. I pray for your people Lord, I pray that your Spirit be with the people who are suffering in domestic violence, poverty, homelessness, and addiction. God bring your healing spirit to this world during this season. Bring kindness and love to all our interactions. Let us be focused on you. Let us be full of togetherness and love for one another. In Jesus’ name we come to you. Amen.
 https://www.christianity.com/christian-life/christmas/what-is-advent.html; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advent; https://www.learnreligions.com/meaning-of-advent-700455; https://www.gotquestions.org/what-is-Advent.html
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