Advent is for Adoring Jesus

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The Christmas season is one of the busiest times of the year. And the Christmas holiday in our country is now insanity. The new Christmas-normal is a frantic, consumption-driven, calendar-packed event. We’re all busy shopping for gifts, students are busy studying for finals, families are busy with extended obligations, and then there's traveling to visit relatives. And by the time Christmas Day arrives, most of us are burned out physically, emotionally, and spiritually from all the hustle and bustle. Which is why I love Advent.

Advent is what we call the season leading up to Christmas. It begins four Sundays before December 25, sometimes the last weekend of November, sometimes the first Sunday in December. This year it begins on Sunday, December 3. And though it is not a mandated observance in Scripture, there are fruitful reasons to consider making Advent a part of your holiday rhythm.

Advent provides opportunity to slow the pace of our cultural Christmas, or even grind it to a halt. Whether through daily readings, candle-lightings, or other Advent-themed traditions, we resolve to pause and reflect in a season that could otherwise drown out Christ.

Advent is an opportunity to slow down and refresh your perspective that God has a grand plan for history that is so much larger than just you and your family and friends. For all the emphasis on gift-giving and sentimentality that characterizes our cultural holiday, we can tend to focus on our small circles of friends. So in the midst of a season that might shrink our gaze, Advent reminds us to pan the camera back out to the larger scope of God’s purposes for history.

Before the foundation of the world, God wrote “the book of life of the Lamb who was slain” (Revelation 13:8), a story culminating in the marriage of the Lamb and his Bride (Revelation 19:7). Christmas is for you to know Christ, to know the love of Christ, and be filled up with the fullness of the joyful God who sent his son into the world to save his people from their sins. The expectation of Advent points our gaze to a far grander story than our sentimental yuletide inclinations. Advent renews a fresh adoration in us for Jesus.

Our pastoral prayer for each member of Sovereign Grace Church is that God would use this Advent season to deepen and sweeten your adoration of Jesus through December and keep him as the center and greatest treasure of your Christmas season. The gatherings and the gifts have their place, but we want to make sure that in all the holiday rush and hubbub, we adore Jesus above all.

Free Advent Resources

Good News of Great Joy - A series of daily readings from John Piper.
LifeWay Kids Family Advent Guide - Devotions, activities, and discussion questions to celebrate the birth of Christ with your kids. (Also available this coming Sunday in SG Kids.)

Advent Resources for Purchase

Joy Upon Joy: An Advent Devotional, Charles Spurgeon

Come, Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional, Paul David Tripp

The Wonder of the Greatest Gift: An Interactive Family Celebration of Advent, Ann Voskamp