Preparing Our Hearts for Christmas: Free Advent Devotional

Dash of Strange Advent

I know this may look as if I’m following the commercial world in jumping from the Fourth of July straight into Christmas even before taking our first bite of a turkey leg, but truly the season is upon us. And it will be past us before we take our next breath. So as we head into the Thanksgiving Holiday, let it begin with the preparation of our hearts for Advent:

For most of us when we hear the word Advent, what comes to mind are cute children’s calendars we use to countdown to Christmas Day. Coming in a variety of shapes, sizes, and themes—some even highlighting The Nativity—behind hidden doors are usually surprises of trinkets, candy, or even a bobble to hang on the calendar itself.

My family’s Advent Calendar is one of The Nativity. Made of cloth, the figures—the animals, shepherds, wise men, angels, Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus, attach with velcro to a much too small manger scene complete with what is supposed to be a night sky. It’s not the most beautiful calendar I’ve ever seen—in fact, it borders on leaning towards unattractive—but when I look at it, the memories of Christmases past makes me smile. My kids, when they were younger (and to be truthful, even now), turned it into a competition.

On any given day, John and Laura, my two oldest, in cahoots to get to their younger brother, Daniel, who wanted a picture-perfect scene, would hang kings, shepherds, animals and angels, upside down in the night sky, any way they could to make him crazy. But somehow, before the next morning, their equally crafty sibling would have them all back in their proper places. The competition to see who could outdo whom made for so much laughter and fun. Thankfully though, by Christmas Day, Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus, who was tucked away safely in the manger, always ended up where they were supposed to be.

crazy-advent-calendar

But not only does Advent herald the birth of Jesus, but did you know that it can be applied to looking for when He comes again? If you begin to think about it in that way, the flavor of Advent changes. From an outward celebration to silent night introspection, observing Advent can become—much like when John the Baptist, in heralding the coming of the Messiah the first time, preached repentance—a time of prayer and a time of quieting our hearts in preparation for that day.

normal-advent-calendar

The Lord’s Prayer—given to us by Jesus—takes us into the Presence of the Lord; the very first words “Our Father,”  bringing comfort. But much like Moses, when approaching the burning bush the first time when meeting God was told to remove his sandals because he was on holy ground; we too are instructed to approach Our Heavenly Father in the same way. One translation saying, “Let your name be kept holy,…”

So in reverence and love, letting The Lord’s Prayer direct our path, please join me as we celebrate this Season of Advent.

To celebrate the season together, I will be sending a free, weekly Advent Calendar you can download and read every Sunday. Look for it in your inbox next Wednesday.

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http://dashofstrange.com/2016/11/16/preparing-our-hearts-for-christmas-free-advent-devotional/