Advent, by definition, is a coming into place, or an arrival. Knowing something is on its way creates excitement, longing, expectation, and joy.
This was true for the people of Israel as they waited for the arrival of the Messiah. But even though they watched and waited, longed and anticipated, many missed the event when it occurred. Their hearts weren’t prepared.
So it can be with us. Christmas is a season filled with meaning, hope, wonder, and joy. Yet it also is a time that is hectic, offering superficial merriment that can distract us from the true significance of the season. Entering into the true celebration of Advent requires a quiet preparation of the heart and soul in order to not miss the deep meaning it holds. This Advent, let’s take time to pause and enter into the significance of the season.
Enjoying Advent Together
To help you do that, each week you’ll find a couple of simple activities here to help you pause and enter into the significance of the season.
These activities come from the Enjoying Advent! Adult Guide. You can find even more ideas in this FREE download (as well as ideas to help your children enjoy Advent). I’ll also be sharing ideas throughout the week on the Facebook page, so you can like or follow me there too.
Praying you enjoy these next few weeks as you experience the hope, peace, joy, and love of Christmas! Here are some ideas for the first week of Advent focused on hope.
Reflect on Hope
Four small letters. One powerful idea.
Hope sustains and carries us through dark, lonely, unexpected times. Hopelessness, however, invites dread, worry, anxiety, and apathy.
Christmas reminds us where our hope must be placed – firmly in Christ. We are not promised that all our prayers will be answered as we want. We are not promised peace and ease in this life. But as believers, we ARE promised that God is always present, that He is always working everything for our good and his glory, that God is faithful and always good.
Christ’s birth delivered hope to Israel. They had believed God’s promise and waited for centuries, actively trusting that God would fulfil his promise at the right time. And God came through. The Messiah was the answer to God’s promise made long before in the Garden. The Messiah wasn’t as they had pictured him to be, but he was everything they needed. Their hope didn’t disappoint.
Christ’s birth delivers hope to us today as well. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He has promised to come again. He has promised the ultimate good of life with him forever. He has promised to guide, help, surround, fight, protect, and come to us. It is good and life-giving to hope in him. He can be trusted. He can be relied on. Our hope in him and his promises is secure.
As you fix your eyes and heart on the hope of Christ this week, may you expect that good will ultimately triumph.
May you believe that events will turn out for the best.
May you trust that his promises will not disappoint.
May you deeply revel in the hope of Christ past, present, and future this Advent season.
What promises of God are you hoping in today? How can you hope with expectation in him in the midst of darkness and discouragement?
Listen for Hope
Hope might seem like a far off dream this year, but it is as real and as sure as it was last year before the chaos of a worldwide pandemic and contested elections ensued. Even in the darkest times, hope is a light and a surety to hold on to.
These lyrics from The Christmas Hope by New Song seem extra fitting this year –
Hope is a promise
For a better tomorrow
In a world filled with sorrow
We always have hope
Meditate on Hope
Display this verse this week (printout can be found in the downloadable guide).
Read it whenever you see it.
Set aside a few minutes to reflect on it.
What is the connection between waiting and hoping?
Why do you think the Psalmist says, “I wait” and “my soul waits”? What’s the difference?
Where should our hope be placed?
In what aspects of life do you need to wait for the Lord today?
In what truths of God’s word do you need to hope in today?
I trust these simple ideas help you reflect on and enter into the hope of Christmas. If you’d like more ideas, download the free Enjoying Advent! guide to find printables, reflective ideas, and more Scripture and songs to enhance your reflection on hope.