Today is the first Sunday of Advent, which is a time when Christians reflect back on the gift of Christ on Christmas Day. Advent comes from the Latin adventus, which means arrival.  During the Advent Season we take time out of our busy days to reflect on the arrival of Christ and the salvation we find in his death and resurrection.  Advent traditionally starts four Sundays preceding Christmas and each Sunday has a theme.  The themes differ within the denominations.  One excellent way to celebrate Advent is with an advent wreath.  Each Sunday you light a candle and take time to pray and read from the Bible. If you need other religious items aside from the Bible, you might want to visit House of Joppa and check a wide array of religious merchandise on sale.

If your church does not officially celebrate advent (ours does not), there are many Bible studies and devotionals available.  One of my favorite studies is from Clay Porr, who I worked with during my time with the Princeton Evangelical Fellowship.  He wrote a wonderful series on advent that you can follow on his blog:  Advent Reflections.  John Piper also does a wonderful series that starts December 1.  You can follow on his blog, download his ebook, or even follow the study on the YouVersion Bible app on your phone.  Here is the link to his website:  Good News of Great Joy.

Take some time today to consider the joy we have in the coming of Christ. 

Isaiah 9 (ESV)

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Another way that we celebrate Advent is with an Advent Calendar.  The Advent Calendar does not correspond exactly with Advent as it starts on December 1, not necessarily the Sunday four weeks before Christmas, but it can be an excellent way to take time each day to read the Bible, pray, and consider the coming of Christ.  If you would like to make your own Advent calendar, this DIY Advent Calendar should get you started.

Do you have a favorite Advent family tradition?  I would love to hear how you celebrate!

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