Advent is my favourite season; to me it's perfect. Lights begin decorating the skyline. Familiar carols replace Top 40 songs. Outside is cold and inside is cosy—I can nearly smell Christmas in the air.
That is, I can nearly smell Christmas in the air if I have the time and presence of mind to stand still outdoors long enough to notice.
My notion of Advent is quite romantic. In truth, often all I notice about the season is the hustle and bustle of Christmas busyness: gifts to buy, parties to attend, trees to trim, and baking to…bake. I become so distracted with the dashing and prancing it's easy to let the season get the best of me.
This year I’m determined to use Advent to give God my best instead.
It's during Advent I’m reminded of the duality of waiting—remembering the Hebrews who waited eagerly for the birth of their Messiah, but also the waiting we endure for the second coming of Christ.
There are different traditions used to observe and celebrate Advent, all with the intention of focusing our minds and hearts on the reason Christians celebrate Christmas.
Growing up, my church displayed a wreath with three purple candles, one pink candle, and one white candle. Each December Sunday the candles were lit—starting with one, building to two, then three, four, and five.
Along with the lighting of candles, a portion of the Christmas story was read aloud, adding to the previous week and culminating on Christmas Eve with the birth of Jesus.
Each week as the candles were lit and more of the familiar story revealed I could feel my anticipation build. As a child I was focused on the season with all my energy.
My hunch is if I can focus my mind and heart then Advent will again come alive for me. And with this will come a spirit of hope, peace, joy, and love.
Christmas Foretold: An Advent Journey through the Prophecies and Person of Christ
Day 1 The Seed of the Woman
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise Him on the heel.” (Genesis 3:15 NASB)
Day 2 The Son of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
“And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)
Day 3 The Scepter, Shiloh
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes,
And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” (Genesis 49:10)
Day 4 A Star
"I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near.
A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel.” (Numbers 24:17 NIV)
Day 5 A Spokesman for God
“'I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.” (Deuteronomy 18:18)
Day 6 The Son of God
“I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.” (Psalm 2:7)
Day 7 The Son of David
“Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” (2 Samuel 7:16)
Day 8 The Sovereign Lord
“You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.” (Psalm 8:6)
Day 9 Separated for our Sin
“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.” (Psalm 22:1)
Day 10 Scorned by Men
“But I am a worm and not a man, A reproach of men and despised by the people.” (Psalm 22:6)
Day 11 A Stone Rejected
“The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone.” (Psalm 118:22)
Day 12 A Sign
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
Day 13 A Stone of Stumbling
“But to both the houses of Israel, a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over, And a snare and a trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 8:14)
Day 14 A Son for Us
“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us….” (Isaiah 9:6a)
Day 15 The Sovereign King
“And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6b)
Day 16 A Shepherd
“Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.” (Isaiah 40:11)
Day 17 The Servant of the Lord
“Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.” (Isaiah 42:1)
Day 18 Set Apart
“I am the Lord, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, and I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations, To open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon and those who dwell in darkness from the prison.” (Isaiah 42:6–7)
Day 19 The Sorrowful One
“He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried.” (Isaiah 53:3–4)
Day 20 The Sacrifice for Us
“But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
Day 21 Spirit-Empowered
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners.” (Isaiah 61:1)
Day 22 Stable-Born
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.” (Micah 5:2)
Day 23 The Sun of Righteousness
“But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.” (Malachi 4:2)
Day 24 The Son of the Most High
“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” (Luke 1:31–33)
Day 25 The Saviour of All
“But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10–11)