Advent is the season of the Christian year dedicated to waiting, watching, and preparing ourselves for the coming of Christ. Advent has both a historical character and a future character. First, Christians are to use Advent to prepare for the celebration of Christmas on December 25. Second, Christians are to use Advent to prepare themselves for the seconding coming of Christ. Here are 11 ways in which individuals, roommates, families, and churches can observe Advent this year.
1. Put up a crèche set on Sunday, November 28, in your home, or even outside. Don’t place the baby Jesus into the manager until Christmas Eve. Also, have Mary and Joseph “travel” to Bethlehem by slowly moving their figurines across the room, not placing them into the center of the crèche set until Christmas Eve. The three kings should be placed in a room separate from the crèche and slowly moved along from room to room, not arriving into the crèche set until the Epiphany on January 6.
2. Place an Advent wreath on the dinning room table. You can light the candles progressively each week before the meal and even include a special table grace.
3. Collect your loose change during the season of Advent and then donate it to a cause that your family, friends, church, etc. believe in.
4. Use an Advent calendar to count down the days to Christmas, esp. appropriate are Advent calendars that include daily Scripture verses.
5. Hold off on listening to Christmas Carols until Christmas Eve.
6. Dedicate some time to quiet reflection or silent prayer. Advent is about waiting upon the Lord.
7. Use a daily devotional for Advent. Or you might consider reading the Gospel of Luke during Advent (which includes the story of Jesus’ birth)
8. Get out into your community and help somebody out. Do it with friends or family.
9. Pray a special prayer asking God to bless your Christmas tree. Include everyone living in your home in this prayer..
10. Each day ponder the question: “Would I be ready if Jesus returned today?”
11. Refuse to participate in the insanity of over the top shopping and running around. Yes, I know it’s supposed to be ten ways to observe Advent. Advent is perhaps the most obviously counter-cultural season of the church year. Go ahead be a rebel.
By observing one or more of these practices your Advent will be a more meaningful season of joy and expectation this year.