What is Advent?
Advent comes from the Latin word adventus meaning arrival or coming. The people God first invited to follow Him were the Israelites. As “God’s People” the Israelites looked forward to the coming of a Savior or Messiah. This waiting was the very first Advent. Jesus, the Savior, came at that first Christmas. And now, we equally anticipate His return - the Second Advent – when He will set all things truly right. Advent can be summarized in this phrase: “Jesus has come. Jesus will come again.”
Why Do We Participate in Advent?
The annual Advent remembrance counts down the four weeks leading up to Christmas. As we focus and wait for God to make things right in our lives, it helps connect us to when Jesus came the first time. Participating in Advent makes the Christmas season richer and deeper than before. You can expect to be inspired, challenged, refocused, broken, motivated, unified, encouraged, and most of all, expectant.
Write a thank you note to a teacher who made a difference in your life.
Introduce yourself to a neighbor.
Tell a friend what you love about their children.
Donate used books to the library.
Donate used books to the library.
Reconnect with an old friend you’ve lost touch with over the years.
Make dinner for a neighbor.
Do a chore or errand for someone who could use some extra free time.
Give an extra tip and write an encouraging note along with it.
Pick up a piece of litter on the street and throw it out.
Send a message to a friend, letting them know you appreciate them.
Hand out disposable water bottles to people working outside on a hot day.
Let someone else take the closest parking spot.
Send a message to someone you know is having a hard time.
Let someone cut in front of you in line at the store.
Compliment a colleague to your boss.
Buy a gift card to hand to someone on your way out of the coffee shop.
Take the time to write a great online review for a restaurant you love.
Forgive someone who has wronged you.
Tell your boss one thing you admire about them.
Research your family tree and share what you learned with other family members.
Figure out a friend or family member’s half birthday (6 months from their full birthday) and surprise them with a little treat on that day.
Buy a warm meal for someone in need.
Give a thank you note, tip or holiday goodie to your mail carrier.
Invite someone who is alone over the holidays to your home to celebrate.
Say something encouraging to someone who is notably anxious or worried.
Donate to a friend’s favorite charity in their name.
5 Ways to dig deeper
- Underline or highlight key words or phrases. Use a pen or highlighter to mark new discoveries from the text. Periodically review your marking to see what God is teaching you.
- Put it into your own words. Read the passage slowly, then rewrite each phrase or sentence using your own words.
- Ask and answer some questions. Questions unlock discoveries and meanings. Why does this passage matter to the story of Christmas? What am I reading today that I did not know before? Is there something I don’t understand? Jot down some thoughts on how you would answer these questions.
- Capture the big idea. The Christmas story communicates massive events and ideas. Periodically ask, What’s the big idea in this sentence, paragraph or character?
- Personalize the meaning. Christmas is not a distant historical event. God came to the planet for us! How does this day’s reading impact my life? How could my life be different today as I respond to what I’m reading?
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