This year Advent is going to go by so fast!
Christmas will be here before we know it, and this year will be a particularly short Advent season. Depending on where Christmas falls on the calendar, Advent could be as long as 28 days or as short as 22 days, as it will be this year. The day after we light the fourth Advent candle we will celebrate Christmas day.
Why is it so important to note the brevity of this Advent season? There are no fewer days to check things off your December to-do list. Rather it means that we have less time to reflect on the significance that each Sunday candle represents…less time to experience the blessings and spiritual growth of the Advent liturgical season. This gives me a sense of urgency to dive deeper spiritually as we expectantly await Christmas day. Advent arrives each year as an invitation to growth in three specific ways.
The first is to remember the ancient expectation and longing for the coming Messiah. As Isaiah prayed, “Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking before you” (63:19). The entirety of the Old Testament points us to to the One who would ultimately save us and redeem us from sin and death. Remembering our history gives us a clearer view of the future.
The second invitation of Advent is to prepare our hearts to welcome Christ in a fresh way. “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths” (Matthew 3:3). Christ has come to us and is with us! Advent is a time to prepare to embrace Him in a new way. It’s not just about readying our homes with decorations and gifts, it’s about making our hearts and our families ready to receive the Word made flesh. He has dwelt among us and remains with us!
The third spiritual invitation of Advent is to renew our heart’s desire for the Second Coming of Christ. “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ Let the hearer say, ‘Come’” (Revelation 22:17). This time of the year reminds us to see with eyes of faith as we wait and keep watch for His return (Matthew 24:42).
While there is so much to do and so much to be gained spiritually this Advent Season, do not feel stress over the shorter season of reflection. God knows all that is going on in our lives and how short the season is this year. As with every other season, God will supply the grace we need to make the most of Advent. 22 days is enough time for God to do His work in our hearts. All good things come from Him – He does not need a large quantity to give us heavenly quality! We can, by God’s grace, experience deeper faith, greater love, and expectant hope for Jesus during this Christmas Season!
Waiting Together: An Advent Journey for Couples is different from many traditional Advent guides in that it encourages shared rather than individual reflection. It is an opportunity to increase your spiritual intimacy with God and your spouse. Think of these next 22 days as 22 date nights in Advent – 22 opportunities to grow closer together and renew your hearts together for the coming of Our Lord. This journey will encourage you and your spouse in shared prayer time as you focus on the Season of Advent. It is not to meant to replace your personal devotions nor is to replace your family prayer time during Advent. In fact I encourage you to be intentional about a way to share Advent with the rest of your family as well – we enjoy using the resource Jesse Tree in our family. I pray this journey of reflection and prayer will encourage you to remain faithful to Couple Prayer and celebrate the Season of Advent together.