Advent begins next Sunday!

November 24, 2012

Looking for the 2013 Advent Guide and Reading Schedule? Go here.

As a young boy, I eagerly anticipated Thanksgiving evening's desserts and Christmas morning's presents. But as I've grown older I've begun to more deeply appreciate the "reason for the season", as the coined Christian phrase goes. And as I have studied the life of Christ these past couple of years a different anticipation has arisen in my heart around the holidays - an excitement of the season of Advent.

Advent is a term originally derived from Latin meaning "coming" or "arrival". During Advent, the church celebrates and contemplates Jesus' first coming and joyfully anticipates His second. From His lowly birth in a feed trough to His humble life amongst the people of Israel, we reflect on God's humility and faithfulness while recalling the promises of our Bridegroom, King, and Judge's return to rule and dwell in Jerusalem and be adored by the whole earth.

The Advent season officially commences on the fourth Sunday (Advent Sunday) before Christmas and continues until Christmas Eve or Day. Throughout history Christians have celebrated Advent through a variety of traditions. The Advent calendar is probably the most secularized Advent tradition (though probably originally conceived by German Lutherans) and counts down 24 days until Christmas, anticipating the final day which represents the first advent of Christ. Advent candles are also popular in celebrating the season, the symbol being borrowed from passages like Matthew 4:16 and John 1:4-9 where Jesus is described as the Light of the World. Some folks burn one candle a little bit each day, representing the anticipation of Christmas. Others use a wreath with four or five candles, lighting one candle each Sunday during Advent until Christmas Eve or Day when the final "Christ candle" is lit, representing Christ's arrival.

I've been intrigued by each of the traditions that accompany the season of Advent. Though I am certainly no expert in all of them nor do I have a lot of experience in practicing them, I am grateful for the way the Lord has used simple traditions and their symbols throughout history to keep us connected to His appearing.

Advent is about resetting ourselves to "love His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:8). It is a season of joy and hope but not without sobriety. As ones who want to be ready for His return, we solemnly search our hearts and prepare ourselves for the Bridegroom's coming (Matthew 25:1-13; Luke 12:35-36). And one of the main ways we do this is through prayer and meditation on the Scriptures. Last year I used a very simple Advent reading/meditation schedule from Stephen Venable. I've modified the dates to fit this year's calendar.

Day & Date

First Coming

2nd Coming/Prophetic Lit

Sun, Dec 2nd

Matthew 1-2

Deut 32, 33

Mon, Dec 3rd

John 1

Psalm 2, 24

Tues, Dec 4th

Luke 1-3

Psalm 47, 48

Weds, Dec 5th

Luke 4-6

Psalm 72, 75

Thurs, Dec 6th

Luke 7-9

Psalm 110, 118

Fri, Dec 7th

Luke 10-12

Song 5, 8

Sat, Dec 8th

Luke 13-15

Isaiah 2, 4

Sun, Dec 9th

Luke 16-18

Isaiah 9, 11

Mon, Dec 10th

Matthew 1-2, John 1

Isaiah 24, 25

Tues, Dec 11th

Luke 19-21

Isaiah 32, 35

Weds, Dec 12th

Luke 22-24

Isaiah 40, 53

Thurs, Dec 13th

John 1-3

Isaiah 62, 63

Fri, Dec 14th

John 4-5

Jer 25, 33

Sat, Dec 15th

John 6-7

Dan 2, 7, Joel 2, 3

Sun, Dec 16th

John 8-9

Zeph 3, Hab 3

Mon, Dec 17th

Luke 1-2, John 1

Zech 13, 14,  Mal 3, 4

Tues, Dec 18th

John 10-11

Matthew 24, 25

Weds, Dec 19th

John 12-13

1 Cor 15, Heb 12

Thurs, Dec 20th

John 14-15

2 Tim 3-4; 1 Thess 4, 5

Fri, Dec 21st

John 16-17

2 Thess 2, 3

Sat, Dec 22nd

John 18-19

1 Pet 1; 2 Pet 3

Sun, Dec 23rd

John 20-22

Rev 5-6

Mon, Dec 24th

Matthew 1-2, John 1

Rev 14-15

Tues, Dec 25th

Matthew 1-2, Luke 1-2

Rev 19-22

If you're interested, I've also made a PDF version of the reading schedule you can download here.

The Internet has a wealth of information about Advent. Here are a couple of resources I found that may be helpful to you and your family as you celebrate:

YouVersion Advent Bible reading reading plans

The Village Church Advent guide for 2012

Over the next couple of weeks I'll blog a bit more on how I am celebrating, remembering, and anticipating. May we join in the cry of our brothers and sisters throughout history... O come, O come, Emmanuel!

UPDATE: My computer's calendar officially fooled me. Advent begins NEXT Sunday, December 2nd... I jumped the gun in my excitement! Oops 🙂 I've adjusted the devotional schedule accordingly.

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About the author

Joshua Hawkins is a pastor, Bible teacher, and content creator for disciples of Jesus from College Station, Texas. He co-hosts The Apocalyptic Gospel Podcast, a weekly audio show exploring how a first century Jew would have understood the Gospel. He's also an all-around tech nerd and enjoys road cycling.

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