It’s December, and Advent is here! Chances are (if you’re in the U.S.) you’re just now fully recovering from the Thanksgiving holiday last week. But with Thanksgiving behind us, we’ve officially entered the countdown to Christmas. And while that stretch of time holds a lot of pleasant experiences—Christmas music, time spent with family, Christmas-themed activities at school and church, etc.—it’s also usually marked by a hectic pace, jam-packed schedules, and financial stress.
With all of that packed into just one month, how can you possibly experience spiritual peace this holiday season?
One simple way you can stay spiritually grounded this Christmas season is by participating in the season of Advent. Advent has just begun; now is a perfect time to choose to participate.
Advent won’t add stress to your life; you don’t need to buy presents for it. Advent is simply the period of time leading up to Christmas, during which Christians around the world take a bit of time to reflect on the true meaning of the holiday. It’s specifically meant to pull our attention away from our everyday worries and focus it on the person of Jesus Christ instead. Advent reminds us of Jesus’ first coming two thousand years ago, while pointing us to his long-awaited second coming.
Your church might observe Advent this year—common ways to commemorate the season include special Scripture readings, the lighting of Advent candles, and the use of purple and blue in decorations. However, Advent is even more rewarding when you observe it not just at weekly worship services, but in your personal life throughout December. Here are just a few of the ways you might choose to observe Advent:
- Commit to read the Bible for five minutes (or whatever amount of time fits into your schedule) each day.
- Challenge yourself to read a particular section of the Bible during Advent. This doesn’t need to be a huge commitment—reading through one or more of the Gospels would be very thematically appropriate, and easily do-able in a month.
- Spend a few extra minutes each day in prayer, perhaps centered around a particular theme. For example, you might pray for a different person in your family, church, or community each day.
- Find and read a good devotional during December. We offer several Christmas devotionals, including some Advent-specific ones, here at Bible Gateway, but you could also track one down at your local bookstore, church library, or elsewhere.
- Practice charity. Go out of your way each week during Advent to spread grace in your community. This might mean running errands for somebody who can’t do them on their own; volunteering or donating at a food pantry or other organization; visiting somebody who needs company during the holidays; buying groceries for a family struggling to make financial ends meet; or whatever else you can dream up.
There’s no limit to what you can do to observe Advent, nor any requirement that you observe it in a particular way (or at all). But if you could use an extra dose of spiritual peace and joy this Christmas season, try commemorating Advent in a way that makes sense for your life and situation—you’ll find that time spent focusing on Jesus Christ will put the rest of your hectic holiday schedule in a healthy perspective.