A few years ago , I was flipping through my journals looking for something that would spark a sermon idea. Our church was heading into the fray of the holiday season and I needed a little inspiration. As I flipped through my journals, I paid special attention to November and December. That’s when I started to see an ominous trend: For at least three of the past five years there was a gap in my journal entries during the first three weeks of December! Nothing. No stories. No thoughts. No prayers. No Scripture. Not even the date on the page. I sat back in disappointment – partly because I didn’t find a sermon, but mostly because I realized that… I let the craziness of Christmas cut Christ out. Have you ever felt that way? Take a look at the word Christmas. If you cut Christ out, all you’re left with is mas. My Spanish-speaking friends know that mas just means more. (I know this isn't the real meaning of the word Christmas, but just go with me on this) Without Christ…Christmas just becomes more.
More work if you’re in retail…
More spending if you’re not careful…
More traveling…
More cooking…
More cleaning…
More stuff…
Christmas is in four weeks! How can we prepare for the holidays so we don’t look back and ask, “What happened?” but instead celebrate by saying, “wow, look what happened!”
We need a plan, a strategy, a manifesto for getting mas Christ this Christmas!
Advent - the season of celebrating the coming of Jesus - begins on Sunday, November 29. Below are some devotional guides to help you and your family get the most out of this season! Choose one and invite a someone to join you! Most of these are free. A couple of them are great for families with children!
Good News of Great Joy and The Dawning of Indestructible Joy by John Piper. Both of these are available as FREE downloads – just click on the title above. The daily readings are short (just two pages), but they are packed with great stuff to chew on each day! Piper has a way of capturing the grandeur of God’s glory and grace and then distilling it in a way that draws you into the joy of knowing Jesus!
The Truth in the Tinsel by Amanda White. You can purchase the PDF for $7.99. This is a really fun devotional for families with children (especially pre-school to elementary age)! My family did this one a few years ago and our daughters LOVED it! Each day includes a Bible reading and a craft that goes along with the story – most are ornaments that you can hang on the tree. Most of the crafts are really simple and it gives something tactile for the kids to do to help them remember that Jesus is the real star of Christmas!
The Advent Project from BIOLA University Center for Christianity, Culture & the Arts. (FREE). I haven’t done this one yet, but I have a friend at church who says, “It’s great for people who enjoy artistic avenues to connect with God because it usually includes art, music, Scripture, stories and poems.” You can sign up to have the content delivered to your inbox each day. I’m looking forward to checking this one out!
The Advent Book: A Daily Family Devotional created by International Network of Children’s Ministry. You can download the PDF for FREE by clicking on the link below this description. This one is geared toward families with elementary children and older. Each day includes a Scripture reading, a devotional thought and an activity.
There are many, many options for you to consider, but nothing is not an option! I’d love to hear what you’re doing for Advent this year. Go to our Facebook page, post a comment and include #2RCAdvent2015. Heavenly Father, I pray that you draw us into the wonder of your amazing gift – the coming of Jesus Christ our Savior. Help us find you in the midst of a busy season. Fill our hearts and minds with the joy and peace that come with Jesus. And show us how to share these gifts with our families as well as those who live next door, who stand in line at the store with us, who work down the hall, who cross our paths each day. Amen.