Ideas to Mark the Season
As our church embraces Advent and Christmastide corporately, I encourage you to embrace these two seasons in your own habits, practices, and traditions. In addition to the Advent devotional, here are some other ideas to mark the seasons of Advent and Christmastide:
Slowly add decorations in your house throughout the four weeks of the season. For example, on the first week we’ll put up our tree, the second week we’ll add lights, the third week we’ll add garland, and the fourth week is when we add our ornaments. This helps us feel the ever-nearing arrival of Christmas day and teaches us to yearn for the completion of time when Jesus returns.
Change the color scheme of your home or living spaces to blue, gold, and white — the traditional colors of the season. This can be in subtle ways like changing your accent pillows, hand towels, or even the mugs that you use for your morning coffee; or in larger ways like changing the curtains, artwork, or bedding in your home. The goal is to create an atmosphere in your home where you have reminders of the season that nudge you to pray and contemplate the significance of Jesus’s coming.
Make time to share and pray with your brothers and sisters in the church about the things you’re most deeply longing for. Encourage one another with Jesus’ promises to fulfill every longing in his second coming.
Instead of doing one big day of gifts, spread out your gift giving and opening over the twelve-days of Christmas between December 25th–January 5th.
Related to the first, schedule your Christmas dinners and parties between December 25th–January 5th.
Leave your Christmas decor up and on full display until January 5th so as to keep the celebration of Jesus’s advent going through the whole season of Christmastide.
I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t attend Christmas parties or events that occur before December 25th. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do any Christmas shopping, take pictures with Santa, or do gift exchanges before then either! But, I am saying that the deeper we delve into the spirit of Advent, the more rich our experience of Christmas will be.
I am also saying that your resistance to participating in the holiday-frenzy and your embrace of the seasons of Advent and the full Twelve-Days of Christmas will serve as a powerful witness to the unbelieving world around you. Your subtle strangeness of taking weeks to decorate your tree, continuing to give gifts after December 25th, and throwing Christmas parties on January 4th is an invitation to your friends and coworkers to participate with you in the fuller, truer, more satisfying story of Christmas.