Celebrating Advent

Advent begins with Hope. Hope rests in the fulfillment of prophecies. This concept reminds me of presidential campaign promises. It seems that every prospective candidate spouts promises that everyone knows cannot really be followed through on. In this year’s campaign, several outlandish promises have already been espoused. One candidate promises to eliminate federal income taxes, one vows to stop completely illegal immigration, another to end wasteful Washington spending. One even promises to personally shoot Osama Bin Laden.

What if the prophecies about Christ were like these empty presidential promises: unfulfilled. There would be no hope! It would mean no Messiah, no sacrifice for sin, no salvation, no resurrection, no 2nd coming and no eternal life. No hope! However, we as followers of Christ have hope because the prophecies were fulfilled. So Advent is a celebration — in part, a celebration of hope.

It is great to celebrate Advent alone. It can even be more inspiring as you celebrate in the context of community. Possibly the most meaningful expression comes in your family setting. Whether you have small children or teenagers, or whether it is only husband and wife, Advent in the family structure is special. I encourage you to observe Advent in your family this year.

Many resources are available to assist you as you observe Advent family-style. You might try some of these books to guide your observance. Christ in Christmas: A Family Advent Celebration (NavPress), by James Dobson, Charles Swindoll, Montgomery Boice and R.C. Sproul is great for families with young children. If you love music and have older children you might try Handel’s Messiah Family Advent Reader (Moody Press), by Donna Payne and Fran Lenzo. It includes an audio CD with the musical passages from the Messiah. Or, a great book geared to kids is Glow in the Dark Sticker Book (Candle Books) by Grahan Round.

Here are some websites with Advent resources that might help as you celebrate Advent with your family.

Resources for Advent (includes a great FAQ)
Observing Advent with the Entire Family
Advent family crafts

Build an Advent family calendar

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2 Responses to Celebrating Advent

  1. Joni Jones says:

    As I was watching the video clip about Jesus coming to earth Saturday night at EXP, something occurred to me when I saw the baby. Did Jesus feel claustrophobic? After all, He is the sustainer of the universe and He willingly confined himself in the body of an infant. We usually only consider Christ’s sacrifice to be His death on the cross. But, how many of us regard His voluntary restriction to a human body a sacrifice as well?

  2. Jason Boyett says:

    I’ve never thought of the “claustrophobia” angle before, but I think it’s very important to consider how much of a sacrifice the incarnation really was. In it, God took divinity — the eternal and infinite — and confined it to a finite body. A body that, as a baby, was utterly helpless. And as a child and adult, he still had severely limited physical, mental, and spiritual capabilities. It says in Luke that Jesus grew in wisdom (Luke 2:52), so even God’s knowledge was self-limited in the person of Jesus. He was 100% God, but he was also 100% man, and a result of that is that, at one point, he didn’t know everything. As a child, did he know what his purpose was? If so, when did he find out? Interesting questions…

    Of course, we saw Jesus break through some of these limitations when he performed miracles — evidence of him being fully God as well as fully man — but the Gospels take pains to let us know that he got tired, he got thirsty, he experienced sadness and stress. Those are very human things, and to me that has been one of the most amazing aspects of the incarnation — that the Creator would stoop so low as to enter his creation, and submit to its rules. That’s what Paul is getting at, I believe, in Philippians 2:5-12…Jesus “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, and being found in human likeness, he humbled himself…”

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