Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent.
Advent is a time of watchfulness and waiting, a time of expectation and anticipation. For Christians, it is also a time of preparation. We are preparing our hearts for the coming of our Lord.
For those of us who are single, this time of year can also be one of loneliness and feeling alienated because we don’t have a family of our own, but even for those of us without a spouse or children, Advent and Christmas can be a time of wonder and joy and anticipation. It all depends on where we place our focus.
Here are some ways to celebrate Advent this year that will hopefully take our minds off of our loneliness and place our focus on the most important reason we celebrate Christmas.
Ways to Celebrate Advent
- Names of Christ
A study of the names of Christ is an excellent way to prepare our hearts for His coming. Kaylene Yoder has a free printable Advent Calendar with readings. Her calendar looks at a different name of Christ each day. Love God Greatly is currently doing a study on the names of God with a look at a different name each week.
I’m personally reading through Kaylene Yoder’s calendar.
- 25 Days of Service
Create a calendar with 25 different ways to serve others during Advent. Make them acts of service such as volunteering at a soup kitchen, helping with the children’s Christmas program at church, volunteering at a local food pantry, reading Christmas/holiday stories at a local preschool, helping your grandparents clean and decorate their house, etc. It is about giving your time more than your money.
- Jesse Tree
A Jesse Tree isn’t just for children. It is a wonderful study of the genealogy of Christ. Starting with creation and leading up to the birth of Christ, a Jesse tree takes you through the Bible and gives you an intimate look at why Jesus came.
- Christmas Bucket List
Make this Advent season about experiences. Create a list of 25 things you want to do or experience this year. From movie nights to volunteering to driving around looking at lights, the ideas are endless for what you can experience. (Come back tomorrow for more ideas).
- Advent Art Journal
Journal your way through Advent. Find a Bible reading calendar for Advent (or use one of the ones above) and get crafty. Whether you draw, paint or use mixed media is up to you, but use those artistic talents to create something beautiful.
- 25 Days of Blessings
Okay, I know some of you are probably thinking, “What is the difference between the 25 days of service and the 25 days of blessings? Welllll….the 25 days of service focuses on giving of your time. The 25 days of blessings can be anyway you want to bless others from giving of your time to giving of your money or just giving someone a compliment. How can you use your time, talent, money, or other gifts to bless others this season?
- 25 Stories of Jesus
Read a different story about Jesus each day. There are four Gospels that tell stories about Him. Read through one or all of them this Advent.
- A Photograph a Day
Take a photo everyday between now and Christmas. There are a lot of photography challenges out there and with cameras on cell phones we are never without our cameras anymore so print out a list and get busy taking pictures. Capture all those things you are grateful for this Advent.
- Christmas Alphabet
Write a poem for Christmas. Going through the alphabet write one line each day.
- 25 Days of Prayers
Create a list of people to pray as well as other things you might be praying about. Each day focus on one thing on your list.
Here are some great devotionals to read through this Christmas:
- The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp
- The Women of Christmas by Liz Curtis Higgs
- The Case for Christmas by Lee Strobel
- Celebrating Christmas with Jesus by Max Lucado
- In the Manger: 25 Inspirational Selections for Advent by Max Lucado
- The Purpose of Christmas by Rick Warren