Advent is the season when we prepare for and anticipate the birth and return of Jesus. Just like expecting parents prepare for and anticipate the coming of a child, Christians get to prepare for and anticipate the birth and return of Jesus during Advent. And just like expecting parents—who buy baby clothes, stock pile diapers, decorate the nursery, update their health insurance policy, and believe it or not head off on a babymoon—there are things that we can physically do to prepare for Jesus’ birth and return too. Here is a list of simple ideas that can be adopted during Advent (December 3-24) to help our body, mind, and soul prepare for and anticipate the birth and return of Jesus.
1. Take the Advent wreath home this year.
One great way to prepare for and anticipate the birth and return of Jesus is to have a home Advent wreath. Home Advent wreaths are a great way for families, couples, or individuals to get into the preparation and anticipation mood during Advent. After dinner is a great time to light the Advent wreath and open an Advent devotional. This is a great way for the whole family to get involved in the preparation.
2. Pick up an Advent devotional that stirs your preparation and anticipation.
Devotional material compiled specifically for the Advent season is another great way for families, couples, or individuals to prepare for and anticipate the birth and return of Jesus. Even without an Advent wreath, devotionals are a great way to add something to life that causes pause and reflection. There are tones of great Advent devotionals out there. This year I’m working through Christmastide: Prayers for Advent Through Epiphany from The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle. Other devotionals for the Advent season include Come, Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional by Paul David Tripp, Advent for Everyone: A Journey with the Apostles by N. T. Wright, and God Is in the Manger by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The local Christian bookstore will surly have many titles in addition to these from which to chose. Pick one up today!
3. Follow a specific Bible reading plan.
Some people prefer the good old Bible to devotional material. If that’s you, Advent is a great season to follow a specific Bible reading plan. This need not be complicated. This year the Revised Common Lectionary follows the Gospel of Mark as it recounts the life and work of Jesus. Why not read through the Gospel of Mark this Advent season? Other options are to read through a different book of your choosing, to follow the readings of the daily office, or to follow a reading plan complied by a variety of Bible apps on your phone/tablet.
4. Add discipline to your life.
The reason why we add things to our lives during Advent is because they help us to disrupt the order. This brings pause and (hopefully with enough work) reflection. Spiritual disciples are a way to help us prepare for and anticipate the birth and return of Jesus this Advent season. One can decided to practice some sort of fasting throughout the Advent season, take up journaling, prayer, or Christian mediation (intentional reflection upon scripture).
There are many ways that we can prepare for and anticipate the birth and return of Jesus this Advent season. The point is that we need to do something! It’s never to late to begin your preparation and anticipation of the birth and return of Jesus.