Growing up in Philly, our church never celebrated Advent. It wasn’t until later on in life that we were introduced to the beauty of the Advent season.
Advent begins on November 29th and ends on Christmas Eve. Many churches celebrate advent with the lighting of candles during the Sundays before Christmas and each candle that is lit has a spiritual significance.
Christianity Today describes the meaning of Advent:
Advent symbolizes the present situation of the church in these “last days” (Acts 2:17, Hebrews 1:2), as God’s people wait for the return of Christ in glory to consummate his eternal kingdom. The church is in a similar situation to Israel at the end of the Old Testament: in exile, waiting and hoping in prayerful expectation for the coming of the Messiah. Israel looked back to God’s past gracious actions on their behalf in leading them out of Egypt in the Exodus, and on this basis, they called for God once again to act for them. In the same way, the church, during Advent, looks back upon Christ’s coming in celebration while at the same time looking forward in eager anticipation to the coming of Christ’s kingdom when he returns for his people. In this light, the Advent hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” perfectly represents the church’s cry during the Advent season:
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appears.
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
While Israel would have sung the song in expectation of Christ’s first coming, the church now sings the song in commemoration of that first coming and in expectation of the second coming in the future.
I would like to invite you to join me to celebrate Advent and to help us, there are two great resources. Both are available from Amazon. Our good friend, Dr. Ray Pritchard’s devotional for 2020 is entitled,
Great Joy. The book contains 25 daily devotions covering December 1-25.
You can download it for FREE from the Keep On Believing Ministries website.
You can also download it from Amazon for FREE on these five days only: Sunday, November 29-Thursday, December 3.
That means “Great Joy” is free all the time on the KBM website. It’s free on Amazon for those five days only. Before Nov 29 and after Dec 3, it costs $2.99 on Amazon.
Paul David Tripp wrote an Advent devotional several years ago call “O Come Let Us Adore Him.” It is available from Amazon.
If you have read anything by Dr. Paul David Tripp, you know that his writings cause you to think and pierce your hearts.
It is a great read and is available on Kindle. Dr. Tripp writes this:
When we are familiar with things, we tend not to celebrate them as we once did. Familiarity tends to rob us of our wonder. And here’s what’s important about this: what has captured the wonder of our hearts will control the way we live.
Tripp, Paul David. Come, Let Us Adore Him (p. 10). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
So check it out and join me on the journey. Let me know if you are doing it.
Enjoy this 2020 Advent Season.
In His grip,
Bill Welte, President/CEO
Written by Bill Welte, President/CEO of America’s Keswick: Bill has been married to his childhood sweetheart for 40+ years and has four married kids and 12 amazing grandkids. He loves music and is an avid reader.