How to Observe Advent – 2023

The season of Advent is here and we have an incredible opportunity to tune our hearts to God and His moving in a unique way in the coming weeks. 

Advent is a four week period of time in the church calendar leading up to Christmas. The word ADVENT comes from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming.” Adventus is the Latin translation of the Greek word Parousia, which the New Testament most often uses to refer to Jesus’ second coming. Parousia was also a word that was used to describe the coming of royalty. Thus, Advent is a time of preparation to receive Jesus, our King. As the old song says: “Let earth receive her King, and let every heart, prepare Him room!”

During Advent we not only look back to Jesus’ first coming, but we also look forward to His second coming in glory. Advent is also associated with yearning or longing. Specifically, a deep yearning for God to fulfill His promises to His people, and to set right what has gone terribly awry. To truly observe Advent is a counter-cultural act from what our post-modern context often models and encourages this time of year. Holidays are the times where we can often lean into the tendency of taking the multitude of our longings and yearnings and still reach for more: more food, more drink, more parties, more destructive habits, more toys, more clothes, more triviality, more gossip, etc., only to be left in a familiar place of wanting when it’s all said and done. Instead, during this time, we are invited by God to reflectthink deeplypractice repentancelive out bold faith, and make room in our hearts for the only King who can satisfy. Below are several practical and helpful ideas/resources for us as a church community to observe Advent, in individual and communal ways.

How can I observe Advent?

Give something up. 
What Lent is to Easter, advent is to Christmas. Fasting has often been a practice for Christians during advent. Far too often we may numb or distract ourselves from that which matters most. What are the things that distract you from reflecting on your need for Jesus? Can you give something up this month to give your soul room to breath and reflect? Examples could be some kind of food or drink, technology (social media, phone, news), etc. The idea is to give up the things that distract so we can listen to the deeper longings of our hearts and of our world, the longings that only Jesus can satisfy.

Do something new. 
Advent is about the light of Jesus coming into darkness. Is there something you can do to slow down and reflect on this past, present, and future hope in your life and the world? Is there a daily or weekly rhythm you could implement to tap into the meaning of Christ’s coming? Here are some simple ideas:

  • Advent Wreath – The Advent wreath is an age-old tradition to capture our imagination and carry us through the season. Here’s how to get started:
  • Lectio 365 for Families App
  • Family Devotional Book 
  • Advent Candles
  • How to make a wreath (Ideas)
  • Sabbath meal by candlelight – do something weekly that allows you to unplug and think about that which matters most. This could be done as a family, or with friends. Take time to go to some deeper places in life and reflect on your own longings and hopes for the future and what Jesus’ coming means to you.
Pray boldly for a difficult or dark place in your life.
Where is there darkness in your life? Sadness in your life? Struggle in your life? Where are you hopeless? These are often the places we try not to think about, as it can be quite overwhelming. Advent is a time to go to these places and pray that the Lord Jesus would shine his light. It’s a time to sit in darkness and not be afraid, because we have the hope of the Light of Christ. Where is that place for you? How might you pray daily for this place in your life leading up to Christmas? It could be as simple as praying daily for your workplace, city, neighborhood, or with friends and family.

Encounter: Worship & Prayer Night
December 10th @ 6:30pm – Join us for a special prayer and worship night @ Made Space as we kick off the Advent Prayer Room.

Advent Prayer Room. 
The Advent Prayer room @ Made Space will be open daily for anyone between the hours of 8am-8pm, 12/11-12/16.

Lectio 365 & Lectio 365 for Families
Our friends at 24/7 prayer have an incredible daily devotional app and have tailored their readings for Advent this year: Additionally, the Lectio 365 folks have also put out an app to be used for family devotionals:

Advent Bible Reading Plans. 

YouVersion has some incredible daily reading plans for Advent. This would be a good way to spend your devotional time:

Advent Devotionals:

Theological Reflections on Advent:

We hope these ideas are helpful and give you a place to begin in this season of Advent. There are many other good resources, but this should help anyone get started. The prayer for our church family during this season is that our souls would be awakened to the wonder of the gift of God’s son. Jesus has come for us, He comes to us today by his spirit, and He is coming again.

Come Lord Jesus, Come!