What advent is and why it matters for you

All year I look forward to Christmas, to the cooler weather, the time with family, and the opportunity to decorate my home for the holidays. I love looking through bins filled with forgotten treasures and reminiscing about past Christmases.

Every year, I look forward to pulling out my Advent calendar. When I was little, I saw it as an opportunity to get candy on each of the 24 days leading up to Christmas.  But now that I’m older, my appreciation for the calendar has grown along with my understanding of its meaning.

What Advent Is

Advent means “the coming of Christ.”  For Christians, the four weeks leading up to Dec. 25 are an opportunity to recognize the significance of Jesus’ birth and prepare our hearts and minds for His arrival.

One of the best places to figure out what Advent should look like is the story of Jesus’ birth in Luke 2.

Three Lessons We Can Learn About Advent From the Story of Jesus’ Birth

1. Recognize God’s love.

In Luke 2:10-11, an angel declares to the shepherds, “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: he is the Messiah, the Lord.”

Out of God’s great love for you and me, He sent His Son to earth as a gift for us. Jesus came, lived a perfect life, died on the cross for our sins, and then overcame death. Because of Jesus, we have life, hope, joy, and peace.

2. Prepare room in our lives for Jesus.

For Mary and Joseph, there were no rooms at the inn. They had to seek out a place for Jesus to be born. If we aren’t equally as intentional about making a place for Jesus in our holidays, the next few weeks pass, and Christmas will be gone.

Advent is an opportunity to recognize Jesus’ birth and prepare our hearts and minds for His arrival.

The holidays are hectic! There are parties to plan, gatherings to attend, and presents to buy — all in addition to normal responsibilities. Slowing down and creating time to spend alone with God takes effort. If we want to have time to reflect on all God has done over the last year and prepare for all He wants to do in the future, we have to make it a priority.

3. Celebrate and share the gift of Jesus’ presence in our lives.

When the shepherds heard of Jesus’ arrival, they stopped tending their flocks and hurried to visit Him. As soon as they had seen Him, they began praising God and departed to spread the good news that Israel’s long-awaited Savior was here.

This Christmas, I want to follow their example by celebrating the gift of Jesus with others. As we gather with friends and family that we haven’t seen in a while, let’s share with them how the birth of Jesus 2,000 years ago is still impacting our lives today.   

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