In the early days of Advent, we drive out to the Beck family farm to cut down a Christmas tree. Our only rule is it must be shorter than “Mom” so it will fit in our house. This rule is always disappointing, especially as you walk around towering and beautiful trees. Instead of those giants, we pick a tree that only slightly dwarfs Charlie Brown’s. And yet, once we bring the tree into our house, we realize it’s too big. There isn’t room. We have to move furniture, change our seating arrangements, and move lamps out of the living room. It inconveniences everything. It disrupts our feng shui.
Our children clamor to decorate it as fast as possible, placing all the ornaments on the bottom half of our tree. The whole, lovely experience involves getting muddy, dirtying our car, moving furniture, pulling boxes out of the basement, and attempts at teaching a five-year-old the aesthetic of a balanced Christmas tree.
This is one of my favorite moments. It’s the moment we prepare room in our house for the Christmas season. It’s the moment we make our house ready for the ongoing celebration that is full of expectation of God’s arrival. This physical discipline and family moment is an outward expression of what takes place within us.
You are a Disciple and Worshipper of God
Advent is a fresh invitation from God to prepare room in our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies to worship Him. This is the call to worship we hear as we sing in Joy to the World: “Let every heart, prepare him room.” This is not merely a missional call toward the world but it is a call to each other and ourselves in community.
Many leaders and missional communities forget we are welcomed into a life of enjoying God, knowing His love, and experiencing His presence in our lives. We forget that we are God’s mission and on God’s mission. You and your community were created to live the gospel in unity with God. To taste the grace of God through repentance and faith. To worship God through confession. To know the depth of God’s love by listening to God. Christopher Friedrich Blumhardt notes the discipline we undertake of preparing room and searching for God’s work today…even in the ordinary.
“One does not always have to wait for something out of the ordinary. The all-important thing is to keep your eyes on what comes from God and to make way for it to come into being here on the earth. If you always try to be heavenly and spiritually minded, you won’t understand the everyday work God has for you to do. But if you embrace what is to come from God, if you live for Christ’s coming in practical life, you will learn that divine things can be experienced here and now.”
This requires an intentional focus, just like the welcoming of a Christmas tree into your living room. How will you prepare room in your heart? How will you look for God’s presence? How will you tune your ear to hear His voice?
At Saturate, we’ve created several resources to help disciples, families, and communities walk through this Advent with intentionality, hope, and joy in our Savior, Immanuel, God with us. You’re invited to join us.
FINDING JESUS IN THE WAITING
This Advent, we invite your community to work through the “O Antiphons” during your weekly community gatherings. These are six liturgical poems, written by the early church for reading during Advent. Each one focuses on an Old Testament metaphor for the coming Messiah and will guide your community through a time of reflection on Scripture and prayer.
This 25-day devotional is a guide into the glorious reality of God Himself coming to us and our world. Many disciples and communities forget we are welcomed into a life of enjoying God, knowing His love, and experiencing His presence in our lives. You and your community were created to live the gospel in unity with God. To taste the grace of God through repentance and faith. To worship God through confession. To know the depth of God’s love by listening to His voice. We hope this guide helps you engage the themes of Advent while inspiring you towards worship, community, and mission. Available in both ebook and audio book formats.
ADVENT COMMUNITY GUIDE
We designed this devotional as a way to help you and your community think about the themes of Advent and Christmas. There is one devotional reading for each week of Advent, and one for Christmas Day. This resource can be used as a devotion for families or in gospel communities on mission. This resource coincides with the incarnation stories in The Jesus Story-Book Bible. Coloring sheets for each week are available.
THE HOLIDAYS IN MISSIONAL COMMUNITY LIFE
In this episode of the Saturate Podcast, Brad Watson talks about the challenges and opportunities missional communities face during Christmas to make intentional plans to grow together in their enjoyment of the gospel, as a community, and on mission.