Ambitiously Anticipating Advent

Ambitiously Anticipating Advent

“When can we open our presents?” my eight-year old daughter asked. “Only seven more sleeps,” I said. I’d been teaching my children to be patient through a special ‘finding the baby Jesus’ hide and seek game we played each morning before I sent them off to school. They were looking forward to opening their gifts and daily anticipated the arrival of Jesus’ birthday. Maybe you, too, are looking forward to something, as you await the arrival of company to join in your holiday festivities, school to be on break or to unwrap presents placed under the Christmas tree. December is a month of waiting.  As believers, we wait and watch for the arrival of celebrating the date of a man who came to earth more than two thousand years ago. Jesus Christ came to earth and changed everything. But why focus on waiting for someone who has already come? So glad you asked. Perhaps you’re wondering “what is Advent all about?”

Advent means arrival or coming from the Latin word adventus with the idea of waiting and watching for the arrival of something or someone. The Greek word is paraousia which means second coming of Christ. First, as we remember the waiting that took place before Jesus arrived, we can identify with the impact He made on those living during that time and allow those events to influence us today. Second, Jesus will come again. As we set December aside for remembering, we invite God to prepare us spiritually for the second coming of Jesus. And yes, the holiday season is about each of those activities but it can be so much more. I challenge you to set aside time this season to practice Advent.

Advent represents the coming or arrival of Jesus in three ways:

1. Commemorating His birth and walk as man and Savior.

 2. Celebrating His presence in us now through the Holy Spirit.

 3. Preparation for His return as judge.

There are numerous ways to incorporate Advent into our Christmas traditions. There are several to consider, and as in any tradition, these may take time to implement. The key for our family was that we understood the meaning behind Advent. Advent is a time of prayer, commemoration, celebration, and preparation. Advent is the beginning of the Christian liturgical year and is commemorated on the four Sundays before Christmas, running through Christmas Eve, followed by the twelve days of Christmas 12/25 - 1/5 (the journey of the Magi to the baby Jesus) and Epiphany 1/6 (the celebration feast of the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ, the visit of the Magi, Jesus' baptism, and the wedding at Cana). Common practices during this season include Advent calendars, singing daily devotionals, fasting, wreaths, candle lighting and Scripture reading from the Old Testament. The four Advent candles are lit one each Sunday of Advent and the fifth on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

One of my favorite ways of celebrating the first week of Advent, is to sing “O come, O come Emmanuel” and read selected scriptures such as Romans 8:19-21, Psalm 88, Psalm 13, Genesis 6:5-18, Isaiah 66, Psalm 16, Revelation 21:1-7, Zephaniah 3:14-20. These are a few favorite Scriptures, you might find helpful in your preparation. Also, I’ve included below an Advent e-book. Regardless of what you decide to do, I pray you, too will ambitiously anticipate Advent. I hope you will join me in preparing our hearts for Christmas. Abide in hope, peace, joy, Love as we welcome Jesus Christ, the Baby Jesus. I am praying for you – Sheryl

http://womenlivingwell.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Advent-Ebook-revised.pdf

 

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Sheryl Giesbrecht

Exchanging hurt for hope is Sheryl Giesbrecht’s focus—a message she shares with audiences as a radio and television personality, author and speaker. A dynamic teacher and motivating leader, Giesbrecht has endured many changes and challenges, moving her to a deep faith, trust and dependence on God.

She served as Focus on the Family's columnist for Pastor's Wives for four years. Hundreds of her columns, magazine and devotional articles have appeared in Focus on The Family Magazine, Just Between Us, Discipleship Journal, CCM, Walk Thru the Bible’s - InDeed and Tapestry publications.

Giesbrecht’s radio show, “Transformed Through Truth” is nationally and internationally syndicated and heard daily by over 10 million listeners on networks across the United States. The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network shares the show internationally on seven continents. “Transformed Through Truth” launched as a 30-minute internet television teaching feature in March 2017. To view this amazing teaching time, go to www.HSBN.tv.

Sheryl has a heart for missions and is avid about reaching out to the poor and needy, locally through the Rescue Mission and worldwide through various ministry partners. Giesbrecht is a Lead Like Jesus Facilitator and missionary with Freedom In Christ Ministries (www.FICM.org) and has been personally involved with equipping hundreds and facilitating the training of thousands of leaders internationally. Sheryl’s latest book is entitled It’ll Be Okay: Finding God When Doubt Hides the Truth.

The joys of Giesbrecht’s life are her children and thirteen grandchildren. She is excited about the new beginning she shares with her marriage to Dr. Jim Turner. Sheryl holds a Bachelor of Arts from Biola University, a Master’s in Ministry and a Doctorate of Theology.

Learn more about Sheryl Giesbrecht on her website, www.FromAshesToBeauty.com. She also invites readers to follow her on Facebook, and on Twitter (@SGiesbrecht).