Advent: Encountering the Sacred

Advent: Encountering the Sacred

Posted on December 04, 2019

BY HANNAH STAPLETON, GRACE ATTENDER

Advent is my favorite time of year. Hands down. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas with all my heart. I love the carols and the lights and the Christmas trees. But Advent is different. Advent feels holy.

Every day through December, I try to set aside 15 minutes. I cozy up next to my Christmas tree. I don’t have an Advent wreath, but I light my Balsam Fir Bath and Body Works candle. I grab my Bible. I enter Sacred Ground.

Lighting a candle and sitting with my Bible doesn’t physically transform my living room, the way the Burning Bush did for Moses. But I think I feel the way Moses did: the awe of stepping into something that is far beyond my realm of experience.

What I love about Advent is the way it completely redirects my experience of the Christmas season. Advent puts me in the shoes of Mary: a very pregnant girl who was anticipating the arrival of her Savior. Mary, who probably was so pregnant that she just wanted that baby OUT OF HER and to be OFF THAT DONKEY, pulls me right into the humility of the nativity. Mary was a just a girl, a child herself. And God chose her to carry His son, the greatest gift we would ever receive. Advent shows me Mary’s anticipation and reminds me that God can and has chosen the most ordinary of us to do the most extraordinary of things.

Advent shows me Joseph, who had to have been so confused by approximately 100% of what was happening. His betrothed is suddenly pregnant, but by the Spirit of God, and angel comes to tell him that everything is totally fine, and they should get married, like planned. And while all that is happening, you also need to trek to Bethlehem really quick for this census, so load up your new pregnant wife and take a road trip! Yikes. But Joseph reminds me that faith is no small thing. Trusting that God is true and faithful even in the most incredulous situations is not a crazy thing. Advent shows me Joseph and reminds me to keep the faith.

Advent reminds me that I am still anticipating my Savior. Mary’s baby came and lived and died, but He promised to come back. This spirit of anticipation that fills me every December should fill me the whole year. I don’t know when He’s coming, but He is. The wonder and awe of Advent is all-year deal.

The wonder of the arrival of Christ is so beyond me that I can’t describe it. But taking time every day this month to remember that wonder feels holy and sacred. The fifteen minutes of my devotion bring me into communion with something beyond me, beyond my realm of experience. Advent reminds me that this miracle of Christmas? It’s still happening. It’s something I may never understand—the wealth of love that moved God to offer up His Son to us once, and then to send Him again in the future to call us all Home.

Step into the sacred with me. She Reads Truth has an Advent devotional that’s available for free on their website or a few dollars on the app (you can also order a paper version that they will ship to you). Read a chapter of Luke every day starting December 1 and on Christmas Eve, you’ll read the story of the Resurrection – a reminder that our season of anticipation doesn’t end the next day. Light a candle. Look past the presents under the tree. Rest in holy ground.

More Ideas

Orange Advent Calendar

If you’re looking for ways to equip parents over the holidays to have meaningful and memorable conversations with their kids, this is it! It's filled with easy activities for families to find even more JOY during Christmas. This free downloadable calendar is perfect for leaders who are looking for ways to partner with parents in the spiritual development of their kids. Download - English OR  Descargar - En español

Lifeway Kids Family Advent Guide

Hope, love, joy, and peace are a few of the good gifts God has given to us. During Advent, we celebrate Jesus’ coming to earth as a baby, making the way for these gifts to be experienced. Our prayer is that your family can use this guide to remember and celebrate Jesus’ birth and the hope and joy He offers. Each week is divided into sections to guide your family time. Click to download.

Laurent Family Advent Calendar With Activities

This Bible verse and family activity Advent Calendar to help your family focus on the beautiful celebration of Christmas and Jesus' birth. The calendar will also give you ways for your family to spend quality time together, give to others and create yearly Christmas memories and traditions. Click to purchase.

She Reads Truth Family Advent Activity 

Prepare your heart and home for the birth of our Savior with the She Reads Truth Advent Scripture Calendar. Designed for individuals and families alike, this set of twenty-five ornaments provides a rich yet simple daily Scripture experience as you countdown to Christmas Day. Begin with the first ornament on December 1, the second on December 2, and so on. Click to purchase

More Free Advent Resources

These are great resources to complete on your own or as a family that will get you thinking about the Advent narrative together. They can also be used to facilitate discussion within your small or with friends, roommates or other community. These advent resources walk through the narrative of Jesus’ birth. It begins in the Garden with God’s promise of a Savior and ends with an eager anticipation of Jesus’ promised return. View here.