A Preface to This Adventure
What Is Advent? Advent comes from the Latin word adventus meaning arrival or coming. The Hebrews looked forward to the coming of a Savior or Messiah—the First Advent. Now, we are waiting expectantly for His return to sweep His bride off of our feet—the Second Advent. The Church has been waiting for Him to come back from the moment He left the first time.
Why Should I Participate in Advent? So, what does Advent have to do with celebrating the arrival of Jesus? Traditionally, Advent counts down the four weeks leading up to Christmas. Practically, Advent reminds us to look forward to His return every day. This season is about resetting Jesus Christ at the center of our lives. After all, when He comes to take us home forever, we want to be ready. Expect to be inspired, challenged, refocused, broken, motivated, unified, encouraged, and most of all, expectant.
How Do I Use This Reading Plan? Each day provides daily reflection questions and often a suggested activity to help you center that day on Jesus. You can go in order or you can skip around and pick a day that you feel would be the most beneficial. You can go through the plan as an individual, but think of ways to do them in groups or as a family. Some activities will be things that you may already do during the Christmas season, but will suggest a Christ-centered way to think about it. Other activities will be things that you have never done before, so be open-minded and willing to try something new. Each day will include Exposure, Exploration, Expression, and Experience. You may find that you want to read the Additional Content each day before the scripture to guide what you’re looking for.
Exposure: Read the account of two people who waited every day in the Temple for Jesus’ arrival. To add a traditional element, look up information about Advent wreaths and set up something like it in your home to use during this time. Yours can be as simple as four candles arranged in a circle.
Exploration: Discuss or journal about these two people who were blessed by seeing God’s Savior with their own eyes. How can your life reflect this kind of anticipation?
Expression: Think about how you anticipate Christmas. How much of this feeling of excitement is centered on the arrival of Christ?
Experience: Before you dive into this 25-day journey, spend some time in prayer. Ask God to open your eyes so your vision of Jesus becomes clearer than it has ever been. Ask God to make you more aware of what it means to live your life with the expectation of the Advent of Jesus. Even on a personal level, when Jesus comes, life truly is an ADVENTure. Let’s experience it fully this Christmas season!
LUKE 2:21-40 NIV
On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived. When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord” ), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
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