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Outside of the Box Ways to Connect with God This Advent

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Welcome back for the fourth edition of our blog series called “Grow Your Faith”. Today we’re looking ahead in expectation for the upcoming season of Advent and how we can grow our faith as we countdown to Christmas!

There’s just something about the way that Christmas lights shine against the backdrop of your everyday living quarters that set the mood and stir up the nostalgia and memories of Christmases past.

Twinkle lights in the window, the tree up as early as possible and taken down well into January (after my birthday, preferably ๐Ÿ˜‰), the stockings hung, and the nativity set… these are all ingredients that make up the joy of Christmas in my home. They all play an important role in the mounting excitement and expectation as we count down to Christmas Day!

As a child, that countdown was in expectation of the gifts and the time spent celebrating with family. But like Dr. Seuss’s “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”, my expectation grew alongside me into a thought of, “What ifย Christmas… doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

My thoughts shifted from getting to giving, from self to service, and from Santa to Christ.

For years, my family celebrated the season of Advent, the expectancy, with a handmade Advent calendar where each of us kids took turns pulling little figures out of the pockets below and velcroing them to the big felt Christmas tree at the top.

And last year during our office Christmas party, I won one of those cardboard Advent calendars that have the little chocolates tucked inside. It would have been a great time of celebrating, except this particular Advent calendar should have made it into the reject pile! Only ten days of the twenty-some day calendar had anything behind their little cardboard doors.

But it’s not the chocolate or the “hanging of ornaments” that makes Advent worth celebrating. It’s a season of intentional focus on the coming of the Christ child at Christmas, and so much more.

What is Advent?

What is Advent? And why is it worth celebrating?

Advent is a season on the liturgical Church calendar that is celebrated by preparing our hearts and minds to receive the coming of the Christ child at Christmas. But that’s only part of the celebration.

Advent is derived from the Latin word adventus which means “coming”, as having an attitude of expectancy. The season of Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve.

It makes sense that in present-day that we tie Advent with the arrival of baby Jesus in the manger, but historically Advent was not connected to Christmas until the Middle Ages, and before that was celebration of expectancy of the 2nd coming of Christ, to judge the world. Interesting, huh?

There’s even a thought by some scholars that Advent was a more of a ritual of 40-day preparation for baptism through prayer and fasting for new Christians, in the 4th and 5th centuries.

But presently, we celebrate both the expectant arrival of the Messiah, the long-awaited of the Jews, and for our triumphant King Jesus.

Outside of the Box Ways to Celebrate Advent

So we’ve learned that Advent is a season of preparing our hearts and minds to receive Christ.

But what does that actually look like? How do you prepare your heart and mind?

Advent can be celebrated in many different ways, as we all have unique stories and faith journeys, but one constant is spending time connecting with God. That might look like praising Him, serving Him, or looking over your life and your growth together.

With the hustle and bustle, even in this unique holiday season, we’re about to embark on, I figured we could all benefit from a list of ways to connect with God this Advent season.

Thinking outside of the box, I came up with twenty-six (the number of days in Advent this year, Nov. 29th thru Dec. 24th) daily prompts to get you praising God, serving Him, and talking with Him as you learn more about His character in this special season.

A few of the prompts include:

  • โ€œPraise God through writing out your favorite worship song or hymnโ€
  • โ€œPray for the leaders of your church or those that guide you in your faith.ย  Ask for wisdom and guidance as they lead Godโ€™s peopleโ€
  • โ€œLove on a neighbor. Offer to shovel their walks, pick up a gallon of milk, bring them dinner, etc. Show them the abounding love of Christ through a simple gesture of kindness.โ€
  • โ€œDo whatever brings you joy.ย  Do you love to dance, or be in nature, or work with your hands?ย  Do that thing and thank God for the joy that it brings to your heart.โ€

Get your full set of double-sided Celebrating Advent Cards — a beautiful numbered winter scene on one side and the prompt on the other — in time for the start of Advent, Nov. 29th. Or jump in a few days late, no worries – the prompts are short and you can catch up easily!!

“God of hope, I look to you with an open heart and yearning spirit. During this Advent season, I will keep alert and awake, listening for your word and keeping to your precepts. My hope is in you.”

matthew kelly

How to use the Advent Cards

The Celebrating Advent Cards come with a page of instructions, but you may want to gather the following materials:

  • Copy of theย Celebrating Advent Cards (obviously) โ€“ย which you may print out yourself, haveย professionally printed, or keep in the digital format.
  • Journal
  • Your favorite pens
  • A Bible
  • (Optional) Something to hang the cards – twine, string, a hole punch, or mini clothespins, get creative!

Just follow along with the daily prompts to connect with God and grow a deeper relationship with Him as you count down to Christmas!

Weโ€™d love to see howย YOUย use the Celebrating Advent Cards this Advent season.ย  Be sure to tag @intentionalfilling when you post on social media!


Outside of the Box Ways to Connect with God This Advent - Bree Blum | Intentional Filling

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