Advent is the time of year that leads up to Christmas. Traditionally it’s been observed with certain rituals by Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, and Methodists. However, it’s been just through recent years that Advent celebrations of one type or another have been added to many evangelical family and home celebrations as well.
The word advent means “arrival” or “an appearing or coming into place.” The Advent season lasts for four Sundays. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, or the nearest Sunday to November 30. Advent ends on Christmas Eve and is seen as a time to prepare one’s heart for Christmas and for the eventual return of Christ (and the judgment He will bring to the world).
One of the most common Advent traditions involves the use of evergreen wreaths, branches, and trees but also the reading of Scripture in the Gospels that leads up to the birth of Christ. An Advent calendar is a good way to teach children the true meaning of Christmas. An Advent calendar is a good way to teach children the true meaning of Christmas—although there are secular versions of the calendars, too.
Should Christians observe Advent? This is a matter of personal conviction. Here is the biblical principle: “One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord” (Romans 14:5–6).
Are Christians required to observe Advent? No. Does observing Advent make one a better Christian or more acceptable to God? No. Can celebrating Advent be a good reminder of what the season is truly all about? Yes, and therein lies its greatest value.
Starting today, during a family bible reading at night, consider lighting a candle and spending some time reading and talking about the verses in Matthew and Luke and John, Isaiah and Jeremiah that point to the birth of Christ during your advent calendar time. If you have infants or preschoolers, it’s ok if they need or want to color, play with a toy, or walk about while listening to you. The Word of God being read at any time in any setting is still landing on opened ears and tender hearts.
So, if you and your family would like to begin a Christmas countdown, using an Advent Calendar, here are several I’ve found online: (Click the photo below that will take you to a list of several creative Advent Calendar ideas.)
One blogger, Kemley Design, made this advent calendar and will have it for years to come –
“I bought the pictures of Christ at Deseret Book (an LDS bookstore). The really nice thing is almost every card already had a scripture on the back related to the artwork on the front. I then trimmed each picture of Christ to fit on the little wood rectangles. I typed up each scripture and put it on the front of the wood piece so that as each day comes, a scripture about Christ can be read. I found some of the most beautiful pictures of Christ!”
Would you like some free printable advent cards? Click on the photo below ..