[bl]L[/bl]ast year, the Lord inspired some Advent thoughts that became 11 conversations intended to help us engage a season of active waiting and preparing for the coming of Jesus. I’ve spent some time editing and reorganizing the conversations, and I’m excited to share it with you all. If you’re looking to engage the Advent season, I really think you’ll be blessed by these conversations.
Here’s a glimpse into the thoughts:
There are 11 conversations, which means about 3 per week leading up to Christmas. These Advent conversations can happen between two people, a family, a small group or simply between you and God. Each Advent thought has sections to be read out loud and sections intended to stimulate conversation. My hope is for these conversations to initiate active responses or other conversations for the days in between.
I suggest (and describe) how to create an Advent Altar to go along with the conversations. The visual is not necessary, but sometimes it’s helpful as we try to engage a process. The altar will serve as a place to hang symbols of sacrifice and active waiting for Jesus.
This is our altar from last year. Simple ornaments that represent each conversation.
The conversations are simple, but thought provoking for all ages. It is good and faithful for God’s people to consider what it means to welcome Jesus to be born into who we are and who we want to become. Here’s a list of each conversation with a short description. Then open the door below for a free download of This is How We Welcome.
1. God, You are Welcome — The birth of Jesus is the moment in God’s redemptive story when He entered the world and was born into our brokenness to bring about wholeness. This is who we’re welcoming at Christmas — the one who is continually being born into us.
2. Getting Ready to Receive — ‘Tis the season of giving and receiving. The very heart of hospitality, the crux of welcome. And knowing how to do both with grace is a gift in and of itself.
3. We Have Room for You — We don’t want to be like the inn and not have room for Jesus to be born. We want to be available and open to his presence coming. Like the stable, we are the humble human dwelling where Jesus is born. Are you ready? Are you available? Do you have room for him to be born in you?
4. We Have Time for You — With the increase of family and fellowship, and the holiday activities and to-do lists, we need to be creative with our time, and consider how to make room for both the fun and spirit of Christmas. How can we welcome Jesus into our day, into our schedule, into our already busy lives?
5. The Story that Births Life — Everything in Scripture prior to the Nativity moment was pointing to the coming of Jesus. It’s a special moment in God’s story, witnessed and experienced by intentional characters.
6. They Teach Us How to Welcome — A look at the days and years surrounding the nativity story for discernment — the people, places and actions authored by God, the first moments when this world welcomed the baby that would live and die as the Christ.
7. An Environment of Grace — All the divine pieces create this magnificent story. Even the stable.
8. We Will Be a Witness — It’s interesting that God chose an audience of animals to witness his incarnation, his taking on of flesh. These animals teach us.
9. We are the Place Where You’re Born — The very first Christmas was Jesus being born unto the world. Every Christmas after, is Jesus being born in us.
10. Living into the Story — It’s a living, active story written into who we are, shaping who we’ll become. During these Christmas days, may we live strong in this story, and may it live strong in us.
11. Christmas Demands a Response — Jesus can’t be born in you and you stay the same. He changes everything. Your life must respond to his presence.