Advent has begun. Are you going to savor it? Advent is a time for preparation and expectation. What are we expecting and how do we prepare? Very simply put, we’re looking forward to the commemoration of Christ’s birth and his return. There’s some preparation involved, too.

Prepare your heart.

Advent is a time to prepare our hearts.  Of course, this is something we can do all year long, however the season of Advent is a great time to:

  1. Remember what this season is about. Gifts are nice but sometimes the season gets so hectic with preparing what’s going under the tree that we may overlook preparing our hearts and sharing the ‘reason for the season’ as a family
  2. Focus. Rest, not run ourselves ragged; cleanse by confessing sins; read, open your Bible and dig in.
  3. Help us to focus a little more deeply on the fact that God is with us.  The Holy Spirit – God – is with us.

“Maybe Christmas (he thought) doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.”

The Grinch

Perhaps you’ve already downloaded the Advent guide, ‘God With Us’ by Illustrated Ministry. If not, you will find the link in our weekly e-news and in a separate email sent to parents (it cannot be posted here due to copyright restrictions).  This resource helps to prepare and to remember that God is with us.

Say it slowly and savor the words:




GOD.  

..is with us. 

Personalize it by saying, ‘God is with me‘.

Ponder that for a moment.

He’s with me.  He’s with you.  God is with your children.  He’s always with us. He stays.  Even when we forget to acknowledge him. Even when things are hard, busy, and overwhelming.   Even when parenting is challenging. God is with us.

In the Advent for Families resource mentioned above, we read that “We have HOPE because GOD is with us.”  

“In chaos, God is with us.
In suffering, God is with us.
In uncertainty, God is with us.
In whatever our family endures, God is with us.” 

Illustrated Ministry

What does that mean for you and your family? 

God tells us in Isaiah 41:10:

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will also help you, I will also uphold you with My righteous right hand.”   

The Message paraphrase of that verse says,

“Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.”

That’s powerful stuff. We need to hold onto that promise AND we need teach it to our children. This is a great opportunity to instill within your children’s hearts the importance of participating in the advent season. Prepare and expect. Take the focus off of just the gifts we open and put it on the gift from God. Jesus.

We don’t have to fear or panic about life’s difficult situations.  Why?  

God is with us.

We don’t have to go through struggles alone or in our own finite strength.  Why?  

God’s infinite strength will sustain and help us.

When you feel like you’re falling, remember God has a firm grip, upholding you in his righteous right hand.  There is strength, salvation, and provision there.

God is with us.

This knowledge will stay within your child(ren)’s heart(s) for a life time. That’s where their strength and power will come from. Let’s spotlight Jesus first, ribbons and gifts after.

Start today

Will you set aside daily time over the next four weeks leading up to Christmas to pause and prepare (as a family)? If you’re not sure where to start or what to do, please utilize one (or both) of the advent resources we’ve provided. You’ll find prayers, devotions, and family activities there. 

This 2-minute video by  Spirit Juice demonstrates our need for heart preparation. Listen to this music video by King & Country, For God is With Us.

Family Prayer: 

Dear God, thank you for being with us and with everyone who has come before us. May we remember that no matter how backward, sideways, or upside-down life becomes, you will always be there.  Amen. (Prayer by Illustrated Ministries, Advent for Families)

In hope of Christ,

Peggy Kelly
Family Ministry Director

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