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Welcome to Advent, a season of preparation. Advent means “arrival,” and I like to think of Advent as a time to prepare three different “arrivals” of Jesus. First, we prepare to celebrate the arrival of Jesus Christ as a baby over 2,000 years ago. We rejoice and give thanks to God for sending His beloved Son into the world. Secondly, we prepare to welcome the arrival of Christ anew into our own lives each Christmas. Oh, how we need Jesus. It is a time to recognize our need for a Savior and to recommit our lives to following Jesus. Third, we prepare for the arrival of Jesus at the end of time as Redeemer. We will hear about all of these “arrivals” in our Sunday Scripture readings over the next month.

As part of this preparation, many of us try to make extra time during Advent for Bible and devotional readings. Janet and I prepare our home Advent wreath and have a short Advent prayer each evening at dinner time. I love to listen to Advent music. And, I confess, I listen to Christmas music during the Advent season. I can’t get enough of it!

There are lots of excellent Advent resources that I have used over the years. Here are some of my favorites.

Godspacelight Website: https://godspacelight.com/church-calendar/

This is the website of Seattle-based author Christine Aroney-Sine. If you go to the above link and look at the list of Advent resources you will find a treasure trove of activities for all ages and excellent devotional ideas. If you are a Spotify listener, search for Christine’s “Celtic Advent” playlist on Spotify. It is my Advent companion.

I am also reading Christine’s daily Advent devotional, “Lean Towards the Light This Advent & Christmas.” Christine is even offering online Advent retreats that you can fit into your own schedule. Check out “Lean Towards the Light Advent Retreat Online.”

There are many books to lead you through the Advent season with Scripture and devotional readings. One of my favorites is Walter Wangerin, Jr.’s, “Preparing for Jesus: Meditations on the Coming of Christ, Advent, Christmas and the Kingdom,” available on Amazon. This year I am reading Walter Bruggeman’s, “Celebrating Abundance: Devotions for Advent.” These are just a few of the many excellent resources out there. I encourage you to check them out.

The key is that you find something that works for you. This is going to be a very different Advent and Christmas season. There are going to be fewer parties, less activities, maybe even less distractions. While we mourn the absence of these traditional events perhaps we could use some of that extra time for prayer, Scripture, and devotional reading, and even some blessed quiet time. Could we take some time to reflect upon what it really means that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only son…in order that the world might be saved through him.”

May you enjoy a blessed and holy Advent.
Coe