The season of Advent (which begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas day) has been celebrated by the Christian church since the fourth century. It is a time for us to slow down and focus our attention on Jesus Christ’s birth and ministry, as well as his Second Coming, when he will return to redeem all of creation and rule with all power and authority. Since we don’t know the day or the hour of Christ’s return, we are filled with both a sense of joyful expectation and humble reverence, with our spiritual focus being on lives of prayer and preparation.
Many choose to mark the time of this season with an Advent wreath. The evergreens help to symbolize the new and everlasting life brought through Jesus Christ. The wreath consists of five candles; four candles around the wreath and one white candle in the center. One candle is lit the first Sunday of Advent, two are lit the second Sunday, and so on. The light progressively reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world that comes into the darkness of our lives to bring newness, life, and hope (Isa 42:6).
Another way to mark the season is through the use of an Advent devotional guide. This year, we are recommending a guide by Dr. John Piper entitled, “The Dawning of Indestructible Joy.” A pdf copy of the guide can be downloaded for free HERE, or you may purchase it HERE. For many, the Christmas season seems to come and go in a blur, leaving us utterly exhausted. Advent is a way of lengthening and intensifying the joy of Christmas. These 25 brief devotional readings begin on December 1 and carry us to Christmas Day. Our hope is that God would use these meditations to deepen and sweeten your adoration of Jesus and help you keep him at the center of your Christmas season.