COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS
Mellie O’Keefe, Chamblee Methodist Kindergarten Director
As my family and I begin to prepare for Advent I always look for ways to better prepare us. My friend Lisa Appelo wrote this and encourages families through her words and her book, Countdown to Christmas. Here she shares 7 reasons to make Advent a special time to create family traditions.
- Advent lets us prepare him room.
With a culture that launches into Christmas with the consumer-frenzy that is Black Friday and then all things North Pole, reindeer, and elves, incorporating Advent traditions in our families keeps our focus on Jesus. In the busyness of December, keeping Advent helps us push pause each day and quiet our hearts to focus on the significance of Jesus’ birth.
- Advent helps us teach our children the gospel truth.
The redemption of the cross is rooted in the manger. Reading the scriptures of Jesus’ birth lets us teach our kids solid doctrines. Children can ask questions and as they grow they’ll understand a bit more about who God is and how we relate to him.
- Advent is a time to worship.
We celebrate the King of kings and Lord of lords who wrapped himself in the flesh of an infant. Mary worshipped after the angel announced she would bear the Messiah and Elizabeth worshipped when Mary came to visit. The shepherds dropped everything to worship Jesus and the Magi searched to worship him. Carving out time for Advent allows us to worship our King.
- Advent reminds us that God is faithful.
Christmas is God’s promise fulfilled. God promised a Redeemer just three chapters into Genesis. Advent affirms that God’s word and prophecies are true. How fitting that Christmas comes in the last few days of the year – an annual reminder that God will fulfill what he’s promised.
- Advent lets us dig down deep.
The prophesies and passages detailing Jesus’ birth may be familiar because we have read them every year for decades. God’s word is so incredibly rich, he always has more for us — personal application and deeper understanding. Advent Bible study lets us know God more. God’s word is alive and active.
- Advent reveals purpose in suffering.
The birth of Jesus is a story with suffering. The prophets who foretold it suffered. Elizabeth and Zechariah experience years of infertility. Mary and Joseph endured not only public humiliation at Mary’s pregnancy before marriage but the long travel to Bethlehem, rude delivery conditions, the threat from Herod and flight to Egypt. And yet it was God’s sovereign plan. While we’re apt to question why, Advent affirms that God has purpose in suffering.
- Advent helps us anticipate Jesus’s second coming.
Advent is both a look back at Jesus’ birth and a look forward to his second coming.