For many of us, the Christmas season seems to come and go in a blur, leaving us utterly exhausted. Celebrating Advent is a way of lengthening and intensifying the joy of Christmas. The season of Advent (which begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas day – November 29th this year!) has been celebrated by the Christian church since about the fourth century. Advent is a time for us to slow down and focus our attention on Jesus the 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, the Christ 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. For this Advent season, Missio Dei Church will be using the themes of: Expectation (Isaiah 42:1-9), Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38), Proclamation (Luke 3:7-18), and Fulfillment (Revelation 5:6-14).
Another way to mark the season is through the use of an Advent devotional guide. Each day of the season generally contains a reading to help focus our hearts & minds on the implications of Jesus’ coming to “dwell among us” (Jn. 1:14). This year, we are recommending a fascinating book entitled, “Behold the Lamb of God” by Russ Ramsey. In this Advent narrative, Ramsey brings to life the people, the places, and the earthshaking significance of the greatest story ever told—the true tall tale of the coming of Christ.
“Behold the Lamb of God” can be purchased for Kindle HERE, audiobook format HERE, or in paperback HERE. Our hope is that God would use these 25 brief stories to deepen and sweeten your adoration of Jesus and help you keep him at the center of your Christmas season.