Advent has arrived! Christmas hymns are being belted at church (we sure belted out “Joy to the World” at our church this Sunday), and the word Advent is being slung around far and wide.
But why should we observe Advent? Isn’t it a little outdated? Here are three reasons to embrace the tradition of Advent this year.
1. Advent Helps Us Shift Our Focus Away from Ourselves and onto God and Our Neighbor
During Advent, we can get wrapped up in our own little world–the gifts we must buy, the meals, the parties. Or, for some, Christmas turns our minds to a darker place, mourning those who are not with us anymore, the hurts from the past, or how we lack the joy others seem to possess this time of year. These emotions are completely understandable. We when embrace Advent, we find comfort for both of those scenarios. Turn your eyes on the One who came to earth, and when you focus on him, his love will bless both you and others.
2. Advent Invites Us to Voice our Longings
For centuries the Old Testament saints waited for their Messiah to come. Through slavery, through the turmoil of war, through every manifestation of suffering, they longed for the Promised One to come save them. Even though Jesus has come, we must still await his full deliverance, when the curse will be gone forever, and joy will truly, deeply come. Advent invites us to express our own hurts and longings as we await his Second Coming.
3. Reestablishes a Rhythm of Bible Reading
“The unfolding of your words gives light: it imparts understanding to the simple,” Psalm 119: 130.
If your daily Bible reading has slacked a little (it happens!), Advent is a great time to get back into the rhythm of communing with God every day. There are so many resources out there to dive into (click here for my Advent devo, Awaiting the Manger).