Thursday, December 2, 2010
Spiritual preparation for Christmas
This Good News tells us that God makes us ready for heaven - makes us right in God's sight - when we put our faith and trust in Christ to save us. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith." - Romans 1:17
Advent was introduced to our family by a dear Baptist pastor at a quaint church in Western Nebraska. According to Webster it is derived from the Latin word adventus which means "a coming". The use of the advent wreath can be traced to the German Christians of the 1500s and is still used in many churches and homes across our nation.
When my three precious kids were growing up, we would have an advent service each week around our dining room table -the advent wreath we used is in this photo. The first purple candle was lit four Sundays before the celebration of Christ's birth, then a second the next week, a third was added and finally the beautiful rose candle shone bright on Christmas morn. It stood for the coming of Christ Jesus and our promise of salvation through Him.
Each week we did something different to prepare our hearts for the celebration of Christmas during this family time together. We read devotions about hope, joy, peace, love and faith. We prayed together. Once we each drew pictures related to His coming and shared them with each other, another time we made Jesus a birthday cake complete with green and red jello. And we always included the reading of Scriptures and sometimes sung a song:-) Dad and the guys weren't too keen about the music but they participated. These special times kept our eyes on Jesus with all the activity and commercialism about us.
Now my kids are adults and on their own. I pray they remember the advent wreath and how it helped us bring Christ into clear focus among the presents, lights, programs, and yummy food. I hope they use one in their own homes.
Today, I still prepare myself spiritually for Christmas. I open my Bible, I read a devotion (my booklet from my church is helpful), I light a candle and I pray. It is a gentle reminder of what Christmas is all about and I need that, how about you?
If you have not prepared your heart yet and would like to start - begin with an Advent Wreath. You can make your own or buy one at your local Christian book store. They may also have a selection of advent books or devotions to use along with your Bible, of course.