Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Advent: What is it? And what shall I read?

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. (1 Peter 1:10-12}

We are a people of promise. For centuries, God prepared people for the coming of his Son, our only hope for life. At Christmas we celebrate the fulfillment of the promises God made—that he would give a way to draw near to him.

Advent is what we call the season leading up to Christmas. It begins four Sundays before December 25, sometimes in the last weekend of November, sometimes on the first Sunday in December. This year, it begins this coming Sunday, December 2.

1 Peter 1:10-12 is a clear description of what we look back to during Advent. For four weeks, it’s as if we’re re-enacting, remembering the thousands of years God’s people were anticipating and longing for the coming of God’s salvation, for Jesus. That’s what advent means—coming. Even God’s men who foretold the grace that was to come didn’t know “what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating” (verse 11). They were waiting, but they didn’t know what God’s salvation would look like.

In fact, God revealed to them that they were not the ones who would see the sufferings and glory of God’s Christ. “They were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven” (verse 12). They were serving us. We Christians on this side of Jesus’ birth are a God-blessed, happy people because we know God’s plan. The ancient waiting is Treasuring God in Our Traditionsover. We have the greatest reason to celebrate.

(This was posted originally at the beginning of Advent 2011, and is taken from my book, Treasuring God in Our Traditions.)


Here are some sources of daily Advent readings you might want to check out for personal or family devotions.

Desiring God will offer a daily Scripture reading guide later this week.

Arrival: Preparing to Celebrate Christ’s Birth — Free download of Billy Graham’s advent devotional.

The Essential Journey to Bethlehem — Daily Advent Scripture readings from Scripture Union. You can download the free ebook or subscribe via email, RSS, FaceBook, Twitter, or email.

Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative


When I mentioned Behold the Lamb of God last year during Advent, Russ Ramsey responded with this description:

It has 25 chapters, one for each day of December leading up to Christmas day. I designed it that way so if folks wanted, they could use it as a 25 day Advent devotional. And I did write it for family devotional use. The chapters are short enough to read in about 10 minutes. It follows the story of the need for and the coming of Christ from Eden up through the Nativity story. You hit the New Testament somewhere around chapter 17.

May God bless you as you celebrate his advent, his coming.

Please tell us about Advent resources you’ve found helpful.


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4 Responses to “Advent: What is it? And what shall I read?”

  1. MrsHLBjr (Jennifer)

    Last year, I downloaded Ann Voskamp’s Jesse Tree Advent Devotional which includes printable ornaments to be cut out and hung on the tree after reading the day’s entry. We also used this in conjunction with her son’s advent wreath, which can also be used during lent (along with her Trail to the Tree Lent Devotional) and the 40 days until the Ascension.

    My kids loved this and we created new traditions for our family with these tools.

  2. Focus on the Family has an an advent book which is free for download. It uses Scripture readings, activities, and thought-provoking questions centered around the names and titles of Jesus to help parents introduce their children to the Savior.

  3. […] News of Great Joy — I mentioned earlier Desiring God’s booklet of daily Advent readings. It is available now to […]

  4. Thank you so much for sharing these resources! I was hoping to find a book to use with my children for Advent, and “Behold the Lamb of God” sounds just like what I had in mind.

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