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.