Advent Season 2016

advent

I mentioned in an Instagram post recently that I would be doing an Advent series and then started praying about it and waiting for the Lord to lead me on what to do next. I knew I wanted to talk about keeping CHRIST in Christmas but it wasn’t until the words hit me this morning that I really realized what Advent season is all about. Preparing our hearts. I think it is so much easier to prepare our hearts during the month(s) leading up to Easter, as it is when we celebrate Jesus dying on the cross and the resurrection. But do you stop and prepare your heart during the month(s) leading up until Christmas? Because without Christmas and Christ’s birth there would be no Easter. No Joy…No Hope…No Grace.  

If you are like me, you may find yourself smack dab in full force Christmas party planning, drinking your coffee out of Christmas mugs and humming Christmas hymns by the time Halloween is over. And while there is nothing wrong with that, I do feel that I should tell you that we are approaching Advent season and should be preparing our hearts for Christ’s birth, because He is the reason we celebrate Christmas! So you may ask yourself, how can we prepare our hearts for this season? Good question. It all starts with the obvious of keeping CHRIST in Christmas but it goes so much deeper if we let it.

The word Advent means, “coming” or “arrival.” meaning we are focusing on the birth of Christ and the anticipation of His return.

If we want to prepare our hearts for this season, I think we first should start with really getting a good understanding of what the Christmas story is all about. You might be shaking your head, talking to the computer screen saying that you already know the story. You heard it every year in your elementary Sunday school class. But do you truly know it? Or perhaps, you have you heard the story so many times that you started tuning it out and never really let the reality set it that, God the father came down to earth in human form to walk with us and know the pain and suffering we feel as humans. To teach us, and guide us and eventually die for us so that we do not need to feel that pain and suffering ourselves. That we could ultimately be FREE and forgiven!

During this advent season, I encourage you to give God your full attention. Don’t get hung up on traditions or legalism. There are no rules on how you choose to worship the Lord during this advent season. Just be intentional and honestly seek Him. Set aside time each day to focus on what Christmas is all about. Christ. Don’t just walk around saying you are focusing on “the true meaning of Christmas” this year and go about your life as normal. But truly spend this next month preparing your heart for Him and thanking God for Jesus. Let Christ rule your heart, not only during this season but always. Don’t get caught up in trying to make this “The perfect Christmas” because will take your focus away from Christ, to you.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. {Luke 9:6}

If you aren’t sure where to start on preparing your hearts and keeping Christ at the center of your Christmas; here are a few ideas for you and your family.

  • Set up a nativity scene in your home, but don’t just treat it as a “Christmas decoration.” But treat it as a reminder of how it all began 2,000 years ago.
  • Operation Christmas Child is a wonderful and simple way to be more Christ-like and focus on the needs of others during this season. Alexander had a blast picking out toys for our box this year!
  • Send Christmas cards that convey your Christian faith. Don’t be afraid to send one to your non-Christian friends by getting caught up in making sure it appeals to everyone by saying, “Happy Holidays.”
  • Serve others in love. It’s always nice to get out and volunteer somewhere, but if you’d rather, you can start at home! Serve your family in love. Just as Jesus washed the disciples feet. Do something for each of your family members with a pure heart.

And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. {Luke 1:30-31}

I’d love to hear how you and your family are celebrating this season and how you are keeping Christ at the center of your Christmas!

xo,

Elizabeth

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