Advent 2023!

Luke 1: 32-33

Last Sunday marked the beginning of the Advent Season in the historic Church calendar. Advent means “coming,” and during this season we spend time focusing upon the doctrine of the Incarnation–the fact that God the Son took on flesh and became one us. It truly boggles the mind, and it will take an eternity to explore just how glorious this truth is! Celebrate this season as we pull out all the stops to worship and honor the God who would stop at nothing to rescue us! 

“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:32-33

Admittedly, there is nothing in the Bible about an official “Advent” season, and so there is no requirement that we mark it in any way; it’s simply a practice Christians have often found wise and helpful down through the centuries, and one we participate in as a church–and one I’d encourage you to participate in as well. 

Here are some practical steps that I believe will be a blessing to you and your family: 

Pick an Advent devotional or reading plan and use it this season.

While Advent has already begun, there is still time to catch up, or jump in on a reading plan. Below is a simple reading plan from “The First Days of Jesus”, by Andreas Kostenberger and Alexander Stewart–an excellent resource for all things related to the birth of Jesus in Scripture.

This plan takes you through some passages you may not have considered “Christmas related,” but they weave into the story God is telling, and I’d encourage you to read each one.

Reading plan from “The First Days of Jesus”, by Andreas Kostenberger and Alexander Stewart:

December 1Luke 1:1-4An account from eyewitnesses
December 2Genesis 49:8-12The scepter of Judah
December 3Isaiah 9:6-7; 11:1-5A child is born; a branch of Jesse
December 4Micah 5:2-4A ruler is born in Bethlehem
December 5Matthew 1:1-17Jesus’s ancestry
December 6Matthew 1:18-25The virgin birth
December 7Matthew 2:1-12The visit of the magoi
December 8Matthew 2:13-15Escape to Egypt
December 9Matthew 2:16-18Herod’s order
December 10Matthew 2:19-23Return to Nazareth
December 11Luke 1:5-25John the Baptist’s birth foretold
December 12Luke 1:26-38Jesus’s birth foretold
December 13Luke 1:39-45Mary’s visit to Elizabeth
December 14Luke 1:46-56Mary’s song (Magnificat)
December 15Luke 1:57-66Birth of John the Baptist
December 16Luke 1:67-80Zechariah’s song (Benedictus)
December 17Luke 2:1-7Birth of Jesus Christ
December 18Luke 2:8-21The angelic announcement
December 19Luke 2:22-40Simeon’s and Anna’s prophecies
December 20John 1:1-5,18The preexistent Word
December 21John 1:6-8,15John the Baptist’s witness
December 22John 1:9-14The Word-became-flesh
December 23John 1:16-17The law, grace, and truth
December 24Isaiah 52:13-53:12The suffering servant
December 25Revelation 21:1-8A new heaven and a new earth

“The Dawning of Indestructible Joy” by John Piper, and “Come, Let Us Adore Him”, by Paul David Tripp are also excellent Advent devotionals.

Consider doing an Advent wreath or calendar with your family.

Consider doing an Advent wreath or calendar with your family each day of Advent to highlight just how special this time of year is. Additionally, don’t leave the Advent theme out of your family’s devotional time!

Plan to attend church each Sunday.

If you’re able, make church attendance during Advent attendance a high priority. You’ll be glad you did!

Prepare your heart–and the hearts of your children–for worship each Sunday ahead of time.

That is, of course, always a great idea. Go to bed a little earlier on Saturday night. Get up a little earlier on Sunday morning so you’re not as rushed getting ready. Remind your kids (and yourself) that you’re going to celebrate the fact that Jesus came to rescue us! Arrive a little early to service, and be ready to worship. It is, after all, about Him, not us. So, let’s think about how we can offer him our worship, even if we may not initially feel like doing it. 

By God’s grace, we’ll make a big deal out of Jesus this season, showing once again that He is better. 

Grace & Peace,

Brian Henson & Trinity Community Church

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