It's Not Too Late to Experience Advent
I know how it goes. You rush home from your kids’ school Christmas party (where you made 23 Christmas trees out of pinecones and mini-pompoms while the kids stuffed their faces with red and green M&Ms they were supposed to be using to mark Christmas BINGO), so you can throw some lil’ smokies in a slow cooker to take to your book club’s Christmas party. But before you can go, you seal all 148 of your Christmas cards, staple a ribbon to your kids’ gifts they are giving to their teachers (you couldn’t find tape…) and then when you finally get home (after you “won” a Robert Pattinson doll as your white elephant gift), you get on Facebook to see that all your friends have been at home all day doing meaningful Bible studies with their kids around Advent candles and their homemade ornaments.
And you want to cry because you want to make Christmas about Jesus. But when you’ve signed up for parties and lil’ smokies and white elephant gifts, how do you fit Jesus in there?!
It’s not too late to celebrate Advent. It’s not too late to make Jesus the center of your celebration.
Do you know what Advent means?
The coming. Arrival.
That’s it. Advent, the days leading up to Christmas, just means arrival. It’s the time we celebrate the arrival of Jesus.
And as we await the arrival and the celebration of baby Jesus, our fully-God, fully-man Savior, I think, the thing He wants us to do is the same. He wants us to arrive.
Arrive to a place of worship.
Arrive to a season of wonder.
Arrive to a space of quiet.
Arrive to a moment with Him.
It’s easier (and less stressful) than you think!
Maybe it’s just listening to “O Holy Night” on repeat before bed.
Or making sure when you go to the Christmas Eve service at church, you put your phone on silent and the gifts-yet-to-be-wrapped out of your mind.
Try reading the Christmas story from the Bible with dramatic voices. Then, read it again.
See if you can recount the whole story of Jesus’ birth with your kids while you’re driving them home from dance class.
Read Luke 2 over dinner and have your kids keep track of all the super-natural stuff that happens in this one little story. How high did they count?
Listen to absolutely nothing while you drive from one event to the next--instead, notice the trees, the snow (if you’ve got any) and the sky.
Arriving to the wonder of the manger, doesn’t always require falling on your knees.
Maybe it is doing a baby-Jesus-in-the-manger craft with the kids around the kitchen table. Maybe it is dragging out the Bible and a devotional book after working/baking/making/hosting all day.
It may be just one little moment, a simple span of quiet that fills you with wonder, a glimpse of God’s glory wrapped in cloths and lying in the manger.
But that one little moment? It may be the best moment of your year. It may be the moment your kids remember the rest of their lives. It may be the moment they get it and realize the best gift of all is Jesus.
Arriving at the manger meant Jesus had to give up much of who he was. Paul writes to the Philippians,
[Jesus], who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:6-7, ESV)
How we arrive at the manger may not be as selfless and exciting and important. We may arrive a little haggard, a little tired and a little out of breath. The important thing is the arrival - that we show up.
That minute of arrival, as simple as walking through a door, will be your Advent. It will be your arrival to the side and the heart of the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
Our arrival to His arrival. That’s what Advent is all about.
There is no pressure to make Advent any more than this . . . your arrival to His arrival. But if you are looking for a way to engage your children in the story of the season, it's never too late to start. Check out the Big Questions About Christmas 5 Minute Family Devotional right here at Minno, and if you're interested in an Advent experience for little hands, you might enjoy Truth in the Tinsel. There are some alternate schedules to the study, one as short as 6 days!