11/27/2016

Your Ultimate Advent 2016 Resource

With all of the lights and cookies and carols that exploded Friday, a smaller, quieter landmark holiday joy starts today- Advent. Advent is one of my favorite parts of Christmas because it leads me to Jesus, it grows in me a joy at the name Emmanuel, and it stills my heart in a time where distractions call for my attention like giant flashing lights- wait, they are giant flashing lights. No wonder I get distracted.
She Reads Truth

The word Advent means "to come." Christ came. He came to earth with a mission, and Christmas points to that first day, that first breath Jesus took as God in the flesh. We are also invited to come. Come to Jesus. Come and adore Him. Come and see of the wonders of His love. This is where Advent leads us on a journey of coming. We come to understand more, we come to love more, and we come to worship the Savior of the world, for He is Christ the Lord.
I've come to cherish Advent, the four weeks preceeding Christmas, and the time of coming that it brings. Throughout years of celebrating Advent and coming to see a bit closer the King who came close to us, I've assembled some different ways you can celebrate Advent too. Here are three ways to make Advent a part of your Christmas this year.

1. Do an Advent Bible study

There are several studies out there specifically designed to lead you through Advent. I've done a couple of them, including Ann Voskamp's The Greatest Gift and She Read Truth's yearly Advent studies.
The Greatest Gift
The Greatest Gift
The Greatest Gift ignited a passion for Advent in me. Ann gracefully traces the lineage of Christ, showing how each figure points to Christ. Each day contains a reading of scripture, thoughts from Ann, an action response idea, and questions to spur thoughts. I had so many thoughts in response to this book that I had to write in a separate journal to fit them all in one place!
She Reads Truth is an online community of Jesus followers that is always producing great content, containing scripture, thoughts, prayer, scripture memorization, and an uplifting community atmosphere. This year for Advent they are doing a study on how Christ perfectly fulfills the roles of priest, prophet, and king. The great thing about this study is that it is online and you don't need to buy anything! Just go to their website every day of Advent for a new scripture! You can also go to their archives and use last year's Advent study, which was great!
She Reads Truth
Other devotionals that I have't tried but want to include John Piper's The Dawning of Indestructible Joy, Louie Giglio's Waiting Here for You, and Dietrich Boenhoffer's God Is In The Manger

2. Read an Advent book

With the extra time you have during the holidays, use a little bit of it to read a book about Advent or the coming of Christ. A couple that I/my Mom (an indefinite resource on books in my house) recommend include Timothy Keller's Hidden ChristmasLiz Curtis Higgs's The Women of Christmasand Russ Ramsey's Behold the Lamb of God Also, for families, or anyone who wants to know more about how Christmas traditions come about, check out Lisa Whelchel's The ADVENTure of ChristmasI learned a lot from this book growing up. Now I just have to decide which book I am going to read this year...
Hidden Christmas
Hidden Christmas

3. Light an Advent wreath

An Advent wreath contains a candle for each week leading up to Christmas and a candle for Christmas Day. It looks like the picture below, with three purple candles and one pink candle surrounding one white candle. During the first week of Advent, you light only one purple candle. During the second week you light two. On the third week you add in the pink candle. And you guessed it, you light the last purple candle on the fourth week of Advent. The white candle is reserved for Christmas Day. (See DIY ideas here, although many of them lack a center candle.) 
Image result for advent wreath
To learn more about the specific meaning of the Advent wreath, check out this article. My favorite part of doing an Advent wreath is that it reminds me each night that Jesus is coming. It reminds me to come as well, and that's what Advent is all about.
I do go as far to say that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but because of the joy, humility, peace, and unity that Christ brings. He is coming. He has come. He is coming again. Come and celebrate Christ meaningfully this Christmas by participating in Advent through one or more of these ideas.

21 comments:

  1. I love Advent!! And I love all these recommendations. Thank you!

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    1. Yay! You will have to tell me what you decide to do!

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  2. Liking these ideas! I have never read an advent book but i think I might just look into it!

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    1. Advent will change your life. It will put the Spirit of CHIRSTmas back into your holidays like nothing else. See what I did there :)

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  3. Reading an Advent book is one of the things I need to try pretty soon! My family, in the past, has tried an Advent wreath but it never really worked out for personal reasons. >.<

    Um... I want to ask a favor of you: on my blog, I'm hoping to create a blogger end-of-the-year yearbook, and I was wondering if you'd like to join or help spread the word? All of the information can be found in my most recent post. I know that you're busy with college and your finals are probably coming up, but it'd be really cool if you'd tag along-- thank you!

    xoxo Morning

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    1. Advent books are beautiful. 'nough said.

      And I read your post yesterday, so excited for your idea! I'd love to help and should have time tomorrow to get something together. If not then Thursday. And I'll mention it in my next post too, which should be next week. Thanks so much for thinking of me!

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  4. I love Advent so much <33 I've never checked out an Advent book but I'm definitely going to look into these recommendations.

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    1. YOU SIMPLY MUST!!!! I love them. I love Christmas. I love Jesus. So it works out pretty well.

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  5. Love this Hannah! I'm participating in the She Reads Truth study this Advent season!
    -Lauren
    http://www.chic-ethique.com/

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    1. SRT is amazing! I've done some of their stuff over the years and it is such a grace-filled space. I'm not sure how they do it. Wait a minute- it's Jesus that does it.

      Plus, their stuff is GORGEOUS!

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  6. Christmas really is one of my favorite times of the year, and always has been, but as I've older, it's gotten less magical. But it should get better, because where I used to get all excited about the presents and all, now I'm continuing to grow in my walk with Jesus, and this time ought to make me all the more excited, and your words on this help to make me more excited! The coming of Christ is truly a miracle beyond anything we can imagine!

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    1. Wow, Maggie! This is so accurate! As we grow up, there are more and more things to get excited about! I'm so happy that my words inspired you!!!

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  7. I haven't done Advent in several years, but I'd love to try it again this year! I'll be sure to check out some of these resources:)

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    1. You would //love// these! You should check out She Reads Truth and do it with me!!

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  8. I actually haven't participated in an Advent in the longest time, besides lighting the Advent candles at my church. I think it really does encourage that time to prepare our hearts for Christmas and come to Christ. And my sister reads She Reads Truth! I think I'm going to start adding that to my daily devotions this winter. :) Thanks for the link! Love hearing your heart in this post. And I love that you linked to a Louie Giglio book! Louie is the best. Seriously one of my spiritual mentors, even from afar. Happy December :D <3

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    1. You should join us! How many siblings do you have?

      And yes, I LOVE Louie as well! I've seen him a few times, and my parents actually participated in his Bible study at Baylor when they went there. So I guess it's inevitable that I like him! Are you going to Passion this year?

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    2. I think I will! :) And I have an older brother and a younger sister!

      That's awesome!! My family and I actually just saw him recently for one of his Passion conference tours; I guess he goes around with some of the singers from the conference to different towns, and it was super cool to hear him speak. He's got a great heart. And I don't plan to go to Passion this year (though I'd like to), but I've been in the past and it was AWESOME. Are you going?

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  9. Those books look absolutely lovely!! I'll definitely be checking them out. :) Basically all these ideas are beautiful. I love the thought of advent and the whole build up to Christmas. Such glory <3 hallelujah. (btw thank you so much for your encouraging comment on my blog the other day. :) It really meant a lot to me.)

    lotsalove,
    abbiee

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    1. The buildup to Christmas makes it my favorite part of the year! And thank you!

      Aw, thank YOU for the super sweet (like, waffles kind of sweet) reply!

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  10. I love Advent too. This year, I've been reading this storybook/ advent devotional to my siblings every day called Jotham's Journey by Arnold Ytreeide. Esp. if you have younger siblings, I highly recommend!! I agree, it's so easy to get caught up in the distractions of the holidays that we miss the real point- which is beautiful Jesus!! :)

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  11. I love this time of year because everyone is so open to the Jesus. Even though I get so much hate because I do not celebrate Christmas I think that we should celebrate Jesus's birth every day.
    I love Jesus and I think that is what matters.
    What do you think?

    Jesus's Undying Love
    -Emma Joy

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