Advent or Adventus, meaning 'coming'. This is our third year of Advent devotionals leading up to Christmas day and every year I love it more and grow deeper in understanding. It's more than just Jesus being the Reason for the Season but why He is. It's a remembrance of His coming and how all of the Old Testament whispered of it. Advent is beautiful to my heart, and I am thankful to celebrate the King in this way.
Honestly, for us, it's been challenging doing our devotionals because of our schedules. To sit and have an evening, every evening carved out to reading and crafting is not what we are able to do. I am thankful that we have been intentional about having a nightly reading and I know He is being glorified through that.
This year we are using an eBook we downloaded from the Verge Network which utilizes scripture and selected stories from the Jesus Storybook Bible. I was able to print out the daily ornaments for the kids to color and I also learned about having a Jesse Tree in which to hang them. A Jesse Tree is an tradition based on Isaiah 11:1"A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots." The idea is decorating a tree with ornaments that 'connect the Old Testament history to the birth of Christ'. I put together a simple hanging tree with branches we 'foraged' for our Jesse Tree.
Also for the season of Advent, I remembered what a friend shared with me a few years ago. For the month of December, she challenges herself to thank God in her prayers instead of just asking Him for her supplications. That idea resonated in me and just the other day, I received a most timely and challenging proposition from her. I wish I could share what she poured out to me and a few other friends but it was profound, real and thought provoking. She encouraged us to all come to Him in prayer at an appointed time, no matter where we are at, and just give Him thanks.
Today was the first day of what I'm calling Advent Thanksgiving and Prayer (ATP). How great and providential it was too. This is what I shared with my friends:
You have no idea how much my soul needs this. In His providence this is the first day of your proposed idea. Of all days I need to be thankful. Having a particularly rough day, with challenging days before. On a day where I've cried because of how life is at the moment for us. Where I feel lost and helpless. Where Finn is getting crazy and not allowing me any space to deal with the matters of my heart. I heard my alarm sound off and I knew it was time to go before The Lord and JUST THANK HIM. As hard as it was, I knew it was the right and good thing to do in so many ways. As my heart aches I pray the spirit of thanksgiving and hope in Him will be the blessed salve. His life was brought here and given for me. That's the truth that sets me free.
There it is, in truth and reality. Here is my heart. I will give thanks and celebrate Advent because the Savior came. He came for me. He came for you. For us. Because of God's great infinite and incomprehensible love. What better gift is there?