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Advent: The Birth of Christ Is Too Big for One Day

Why Celebrate Advent?

In my home, we’ve gone through Ann Voskamp’s interactive Advent celebration called The Wonder of the Greatest Gift together as a family. It’s been a helpful way for our family to slow down, take a step back, and recognize the deep meaning behind the Christmas tradition.

Second, establish healthy traditions and expectations for your family’s Christmas season. My kids, like most, appreciate the gift giving and receiving. Most of us also naturally share an appreciation for all the festive parties and time with family and friends. But none of these things should be at the core of our Christmas celebration.

The culture we live in is quick to buy into the season’s consumerism. They get wrapped up (get it?) in all the presents and can’t seem to see past Santa long enough to notice the baby in the manger. When I was a kid, I too remember the thrill of running down the stairs and eagerly ripping into mounds of wrapping paper.

As a parent, I’ve tried to do things differently. Now on Christmas mornings, my family and I take time to read through the story of Christ’s birth before tearing into any gifts. As a general rule, though, we’ve also tried to reduce the number of presents under the tree in the first place because we believe that our goal as believers is to avoid contributing to our mainstream material-obsessed culture.

Third, develop a rhythm. It’s no secret that this is a crazy time of year. Between all the parties with coworkers, neighbors, and family members—not to mention all the time spent purchasing Secret Santa presents and preparing food—schedules are packed.

But, as with the gift giving, our call as Christians is to live distinctive lives. That is, what we do and how we do it should look different from the general cultural consensus. We want our pace of life to reflect our heart for the Advent season and our desire for the God we worship to not get crowded out of the holiday festivities. So, before the busyness sets in, make some decisions about the rhythm you want to set this Christmas season—believe me, you’ll be grateful you did!

As believers, we also remember during Advent that we now live in the ‘between’ times—after the first and before the second coming. As we anticipate Christ’s second coming, we live in the knowledge that things are still not as they should be. We see people all around us, from neighbors to friends and family members, experiencing deep brokenness and long to see the final restoration of earth come to fruition.

But really, that’s what this season is: a celebration of hope. Not that the work is fully done, but that God is still doing it! He hasn’t left us; he won’t give up; he is a God in constant pursuit of lost sheep like you and me.

The child in the manger wasn’t just a sign of God’s grace on a fallen world, but a guarantee of the redemption still to come.