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Preparing for Advent 2020

 

"The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come." Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Advent means “coming”, and specifically, the coming of a notable person or event. Thus, for Christians at Christmas, the Advent season is a time to prepare for the coming of Christ. There are two ways we prepare for his coming: 1) we commemorate all that God has promised and fulfilled in the first coming of Christ to the earth, and 2) we anticipate his glorious return as we reset our hopes in him.

Traditionally, Advent begins 4 Sundays before December 25, which makes November 29 the first Sunday of celebration in 2020. With this date approaching, we encourage you and your families to prepare for this wonderful season.

We commemorate

God is so gracious to his people. He promised that he would send us a Son, born of a virgin, whose name would be Immanuel (Isa 7:14), and he fulfilled this promise in Christ, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of woman–our God with us (Matt 1:20—2:1). With this promise fulfilled, and many others like it, we have confidence, therefore, that what God speaks, he faithfully fulfills.

This confidence we have in God ought to lead us to a place of rejoicing and celebration together! For the King has come, just as he said he would. Therefore, let us remember and prepare ourselves this season for receiving this good news of great joy yet again! 

We anticipate

This confidence we have in God ought also to lead us to a place of preparation and anticipation that Christ will come again, just as he said he would (Lk 21:25–28).  God’s people are called to “be on guard” and to “stay awake”, for we do not know when our glorious King will return (Mk 13:33). Advent helps us reorient to this reality. 

In speaking of Christ’s return, A.W. Tozer said, “Let us be alert to the season in which we are living. It is the season of the Blessed Hope, calling for us to cut our ties with the world and build ourselves on this One who will soon appear. He is our hope—a Blessed Hope enabling us to rise above our times and fix our gaze upon Him.” May the world around us fade away as we draw near to our King!

How are you preparing your home and heart to celebrate Christ’s incarnation and his glorious return?  

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Here are a few practical suggestions for our households to participate in together:

1. Read sections of the Christmas story together daily (some suggestions):

     Micah 5:2–5
     Jeremiah 23:1–6
     Isaiah 9:2–7
     Matthew 1:18–2:12
     Luke 1:26–2:21
     John 1:1–14
     Galatians 4:1–7

Screen Shot 2020-11-13 at 11.17.11 AM2. Read through an Advent resource (there are plenty of good options; this year we have made available for purchase in the lobby Sinclair Ferguson’s Love Came Down at Christmas).

Ferguson’s 25-day Advent devotional focuses on God’s authentic, divine, and transforming love expressed in 1 Corinthians 13. It has helpful reflection questions, prayer suggestions, and is adequate for a family to read and enjoy together.

3. Talk about what Advent is with your children and grandchildren. Share with them how you are commemorating Christ’s birth and anticipating his return.

4. Set aside daily time to discuss these wonderful things, pray, and sing together as a family.

5. Prepare your family for our 3 Advent sermons here at CCC:     
     
     December 6: Jesus came to... Call the Sinners to Repent (Lk 5:31–33)
     December 13: Jesus came to… Die for Sinners (John 12:27)
     December 20: Jesus came to… To Give Abundant Life (John 10:10)