Advent is the first season in the Christian calendar and lasts about four weeks—it begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word “adventus,” which means coming or visit. Advent is recognized as the season of preparation before Christmas. As we prepare, we remember history’s longing for a future king before Jesus’ birth and what it would have been like to wait and wonder. Advent is a time for telling the truth—the truth of our weariness and our anxiety, yes, but also the truth of the relentless generosity of God, which opens up futures that seem to be shut down by the systems of our world. Advent is the season of expectancy, of preparation, of longing. Advent is a season of reflection, so its purpose is primarily to provide the space and freedom to both feel and understand what it means to wait on God. A daily devotion can be a great way to add some structure to your reflection. You can stretch out this time as long as you want, perhaps over a meal, or it can be as quick as the last two minutes before bedtime. Our family lights the candle just before the reading because our candles burn quickly, but you might want to enjoy the candlelight longer by lighting it earlier in the day. This guide requires no preparation. Simply turn to the corresponding day of Advent, read the passage, ask the optional reflection question and play the music. You are encouraged to light a candle during the devotional reading and reflection. The reflection question is a simplified version of a type of prayer called the Examen. Sometimes nicknamed “backwards prayer,” in Examen you’re asked to reflect back on the day’s events and acknowledge when God was present. The Daily Advent Devotional is on the main page of our App.
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