In mid-November, I usually start telling myself that I need to be more intentional and Christ-focused this year, but then December comes and life shifts into hyper-drive, and before I know it, Christmas is here, and I’m left with nagging guilt and fear that I wasted the Advent season.
I’m desperate for change this year. Advent is a unique and precious time to celebrate the incarnation with our families and churches. It’s a special season to rejoice in the life (and death) of our Savior. This year I’m resolving not to let sentimentalism sabotage my Godward intentionality. Will you join me?
The One Thing You Need to Do This Season
Our intentionality flows directly from here. If we want to form holy habits in these weeks, we must engage our minds. We can make paper prayer chains, sing Christmas carols, and read Luke 2 every night, but if our minds are not fully present, those things are just empty acts— mere fuzzy, gooey traditions without the stony foundation of truth.
This requires being persistent. Every day we need to reflect. When you’re tempted to distraction or discouragement, when you’re sitting happily in front of a lit tree or a roaring fire, when you’re eating turkey or rejoicing with friends and family, stop and think about what you’re celebrating.
You are celebrating the incarnation of the all-glorious Creator of the universe. You are celebrating the joyous humility of the sovereign king. You are celebrating the Trinitarian love that brought Jesus to earth. You are celebrating the perfect and unstoppable plan of God. You are celebrating the birth and life and death and resurrection of Jesus. You are celebrating the redemption of God’s people. You are celebrating the generosity and grace of God. This season should be a reflection of your worship.
If you’d like some guidance, the following are excellent, gospel-rich resources that will help you meditate over Advent:
From Creation to Consummation (Colin Smith)
The Dawning of Indestructible Joy (John Piper)
Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus (Nancy Guthrie)
Fight Distraction with the Fruit of the Spirit
Reflecting on God sending his only begotten Son should motivate us to love others better and more—and not just the “lovable” people, but the annoying, frazzled, frustrating, and difficult ones.
It could be a season where we draw closer to Christ.
Fellow Christian, this season – like every other season – is what you make of it. How will you spend Advent?