Advent Guide

Advent is an ancient Christian practice which helps disciples of Jesus prepare for the celebration and remembrance of his birth on Christmas day.  The word advent comes from the Latin word adventus which means “coming or arrival of”. The advent season remembers the first coming of Jesus with our eyes open for his second coming.

In our modern world, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas, arriving at the end of December – overtired, overspending, overeating and longing for relief rather than longing for Christ.  Advent helps us slow down and be intentional – two important practices of the followers of Jesus.

This guide is designed to help you and your family keep your focus on our great god, his great promises and his great coming kingdom by giving you daily prompts and practices. Each week has a theme which will be focused on during our Sunday service. It might be helpful to select a specific time each day to look at this guide.

We pray that this advent you will be renewed in hope, guarded by peace, filled with joy and know god’s love in a special way.

How To Us This Devotional:

Each week we will have guidance in the following areas (they are outlined below)

WORSHIP | Join us each Sunday of Advent to turn our eyes upon Jesus and remember the reason for the season. There will also be other worship opportunities throughout the month.

JOURNAL PROMPTS | It is hard to write quickly and using a journal to write prayers, process thoughts or express gratitude is an excellent way to slow down. Each week we will have some questions to consider in your journal.

SCRIPTURE | Suggested verses/passages to read and meditate on considering each week’s theme.

ACTION IDEAS | Opportunities to do something proactive during December to bless someone or encourage special time with your family and friends.

Week 3 - JOY

Like hope and peace before it, “joy” is another phrase that colors this season. Cards, ornaments and carols repeatedly depict joy and how it is associated with the coming of Christ.  The promise of the Messiah has been fulfilled – and how ought we to respond – we should rejoice!  In fact, as you read the birth stories from the gospels, joy is expressed and commanded to each of the main characters of this narrative.

Regarding John the Baptist - “you will have joy and gladness at his birth” (Luke 1:14). Joy saturates the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth (Luke 1:41-44) and leads Mary to sing that her “soul exalts he Lord and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior (Like 1:46-47). The angelic invitation to the unnamed shepherds is “good news of great joy which will be for all the people…”(Luke 2:8-15). And when the magi finally arrive at the house where Jesus lived they “rejoiced exceedingly with great joy” as their star led journey ended at last (Matthew 2:1-11).

The joy of  Jesus did not just end at his birth, for his life and ministry are filled with expressions of joy.  Jesus was full of joy.  Is that how you imagine him as you read? Or are you inclined to think of him as stern and serious? Think about him celebrating the Jewish festivals or at a wedding or how interacted with children, people in need.

This does not mean Jesus was “happy all the time“. Scripture tells us that he was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief as well. But if we think of Jesus and do not think of joy, we are not thinking of the real and historical son of God. Jesus was ever mindful that he was fully loved, and had the hope of glory before him. And those truths filled his heart with joy that was shared with those around him.

Think about this: as children of God, we too are loved fully by our Father and have the glorious hope as our future. Does this give you joy?

Your level of joy often indicates the quality of your relationship with God an others.
Joy is one of the best barometers of the soul.
Joy is a weapon and an infusion of strength in the spiritual battle.

The joy of the LORD is our strength.


Journal Prompts

SUNDAY - Join us at church to worship God and fellowship with the family of God..

          Confirm your plans for how you will celebrate with us on Christmas Eve Sunday.
Where do you see God at work in your life right now?
How is God working, even in moments it doesn't "feel" like it?
What is your level of joy today?
What is trying to steal your joy?
Make a list of things you have to be joyful about.
How can I bring joy to the people in my life?


Action Items

These passages speak of peace. Some are longings for peace while others are promises of God that relate to peace.

12/17 - Sunday: John 15:1-11
12/18 - Monday: Psalm 16
12/19 - Tuesday: Luke 1:26-55
12/20 - Wednesday: Hebrews 12:1- 4:1-13
12/21 - Thursday: Isaiah 35
12/22 - Friday: Hebrews 12:1-2
(consider handwriting a copy of these verses)
12/23 - Saturday: Philippians 1-4
(make note of how often “joy” or “rejoice” appears)
|   Watch the Bible Project video on “Joy” found at
|   Do something that brings joy to someone else this week.
|   Light a candle at some point each day in your home
|   Can you do something this week that will encourage joy? Maybe looking at a    
    Christmas lights display or getting/making hot chocolate with someone?
|   Share a meal with family and/or friends